March 17 (Reuters) - Stock futures pointed to a flat opening for Canada's main stock index on Friday as investors awaited manufacturing sales data for January. March futures on the S&P TSX index were up 0.04 percent at 7:15 a.m. ET. Manufacturing data, due to be released at 8:30 a.m. ET, is expected to show that sales fell by 0.2 percent in January after rising for the previous two months. The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index rose on Thursday, led by gains for financials as bond yields rose, while luxury parka maker Canada Goose Holdings Inc gained on its stock market debut. Dow Jones Industrial Average e-mini futures were up 0.1 percent at 7:15 a.m. ET, while S&P 500 e-mini futures were up 0.01 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures were up 0.09 percent. (Morning News Call newsletter here ; The Day Ahead newsletter here) TOP STORIES ValueAct Capital raised its stake in Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc , in a move that could provide a confidence boost to the drug company three days after its largest shareholder sold out of the stock. Canada is committed to keeping the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as a trilateral accord, Canada's trade minister said on Thursday, in a sign of support for Mexico as it prepares for tough negotiations with the new U.S. administration. ANALYST RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS Empire Co Ltd : Barclays raises rating to "equal weight" from "underweight" Transat AT Inc : CIBC cuts target price to C$5.50 from C$6 COMMODITIES AT 7:15 a.m. ET Gold futures : $1227.1; rose 0.05 percent US crude : $49.03; rose 0.57 percent Brent crude : $51.99; rose 0.48 percent LME 3-month copper : $5913.5; rose 0.08 percent U.S. ECONOMIC DATA DUE ON FRIDAY 09:15 Industrial production mm for Feb: Expected 0.2 pct; Prior -0.3 pct 09:15 Capacity utilization mm for Feb: Expected 75.5 pct; Prior 75.3 pct 09:15 Manufacturing output mm for Feb: Expected 0.4 pct; Prior 0.2 pct 10:00 Leading index change mm for Feb: Expected 0.4 pct; Prior 0.6 pct 10:00 U Mich Sentiment Preliminary for Mar: Expected 97.0; Prior 95.7 10:00 U Mich Conditions Preliminary for Mar: Expected 111.0; Prior 111.2 10:00 U Mich Expectations Preliminary for Mar: Expected 85.5; Prior 85.7 10:00 U Mich 1 year inflation preliminary for Mar: Prior 2.8 pct 10:00 U Mich 5-year inflation preliminary for Mar: Prior 2.5 pct 10:30 ECRI Weekly Index: Prior 144.9 10:30 ECRI weekly annualized: Prior 9.5 pct 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$1.33) (Reporting by Nayyar Rasheed in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)
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