March 9, 2016 / 12:55 PM / a year ago

CANADA STOCKS-Futures higher as oil prices rise

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March 9 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index was set to open higher on Wednesday after oil prices held above $40 a barrel on speculation that the world's largest exporters could agree this month to freeze production.

March futures on the S&P TSX index were up 0.47 percent at 7:40 a.m. ET.

The Bank of Canada, which meets on Wednesday, is expected to hold interest rates at 0.50 percent as it allows the effects of last year's two rate cuts to filter through the economy. The bank will announce its decision at 10:00 a.m. ET.

Canada's main stock index broke an eight session winning streak on Tuesday as lower commodity prices and weak Chinese data weighed on resource stocks, but financials and defensive stocks rose and the index still held near three-month highs.

Dow Jones Industrial Average e-mini futures were up 0.52 percent at 7:40 a.m. ET. S&P 500 e-mini futures were up 0.53 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures were up 0.54 percent.

(Morning News Call newsletter; The Day Ahead newsletter

Top Stories

Billionaire investor Bill Ackman on Tuesday called embattled drug company Valeant Pharmaceuticals a "very valuable asset" but forecast that if the company's situation does not stabilize soon new management will be brought in or the company will be sold.

Oil and gas producer Crescent Point Energy Corp said it expected 2016 capital expenditure and production to be at the lower end of its forecasts and the company slashed its dividend.

Imperial Oil Ltd, Canada's No. 2 integrated oil producer and refiner, said it agreed to sell 497 remaining company-owned Esso retail stations to five fuel distributors for about C$2.8 billion ($2.09 billion).


Gold futures : $1,252.60; -0.75 pct

US crude : $37.14; +1.73 pct

Brent crude : $40.38; +1.84 pct

LME 3-month copper : $4,915.50; +0.98 pct

Analyst Research Highlights

Advantage Oil & Gas : National Bank Financial resumes coverage with "outperform" rating

Atlantic Power Corp : RBC raises rating to "sector perform" from "underperform"

New Gold Inc : Desjardins raises rating to "buy" from "hold"

u.s. Economic Data Due on Wednesday

1000 Wholesale inventories mm for Jan: Expected -0.2 pct; Prior -0.1 pct

1000 Wholesale sales mm for Jan: Expected -0.3 pct; Prior -0.3 pct

1100 Thomson Reuters/Ipsos Primary Consumer Sentiment Index for Mar: Prior 55.2

For Canadian Markets News, Click on Codes:

TSX market report

Canadian dollar and bonds report

Reuters global stocks poll for Canada

Canadian markets directory ($1= C$1.34) (Reporting by Nikhil Kumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)

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