March 15 (Reuters) - Futures pointed to a higher opening for Canadian stocks on Wednesday as oil prices rebounded from three-month lows, a day after the S&P/TSX composite index tumbled to its lowest this year. March futures on the index were up 0.25 percent at 7:15 a.m. ET. The rebound in oil prices was due to a surprise drawdown in U.S. inventories and the International Energy Agency's figures suggesting OPEC cuts should push the crude market into deficit in time. The market was also weighed down on Tuesday by a 10 percent slump in Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc's stock, after activist investor William Ackman sold his entire stake in the struggling drugmaker. Dow Jones Industrial Average e-mini futures were up 0.16 percent at 7:15 a.m. ET, while S&P 500 e-mini futures were up 0.21 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures were up 0.18 percent. (Morning News Call newsletter here ; The Day Ahead newsletter here) TOP STORIES Lending activity to small Canadian businesses edged down in January, though borrowing by larger firms accelerated, data showed on Wednesday, pointing to an economy that is still recovering from an oil price shock two years ago. Manulife Financial Corp has been granted a licence that will allow it to launch investment products in China through a wholly-owned local subsidiary, as Beijing further liberalises its capital markets. ANALYST RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS Halogen Software Inc : Raymond James cuts rating to "market perform" from "outperform" TransCanada Corp : GMP cuts target price to C$68 from C$70 Alimentation Couche Tard : Canaccord Genuity cuts target price to C$72 from C$78 COMMODITIES AT 7:15 a.m. ET Gold futures : $1201.9; 0 percent US crude : $48.65; +1.89 percent Brent crude : $51.78; +1.69 percent LME 3-month copper : $5869.5; +0.85 percent U.S. ECONOMIC DATA DUE ON WEDNESDAY 08:30 Core CPI mm, SA for Feb: Expected 0.2 pct; Prior 0.3 pct 08:30 Core CPI yy, NSA for Feb: Expected 2.2 pct; Prior 2.3 pct 08:30 CPI Index, NSA for Feb: Expected 243.28; Prior 242.84 08:30 Core CPI Index, SA for Feb: Prior 250.78 08:30 CPI mm, SA for Feb: Expected 0.0 pct; Prior 0.6 pct 08:30 CPI yy, NSA for Feb: Expected 2.7 pct; Prior 2.5 pct 08:30 Real weekly earnings mm for Feb: Prior -0.4 pct 08:30 NY Fed Manufacturing for Mar: Expected 15.00; Prior 18.70 08:30 Retail sales ex-autos mm for Feb: Expected 0.2 pct; Prior 0.8 pct 08:30 Retail sales mm for Feb: Expected 0.1 pct; Prior 0.4 pct 08:30 Retail ex gas/autos for Feb: Prior 0.7 pct 08:30 Retail control for Feb: Expected 0.2 pct; Prior 0.4 pct 10:00 Business inventories mm for Jan: Expected 0.3 pct; Prior 0.4 pct 10:00 Retail Inventory Ex Auto (R) for Jan: Prior 0.0 10:00 NAHB Housing Market Index for Mar: Expected 65; Prior 65 12:00 Cleveland fed CPI for Feb: Prior 0.3 pct 14:00 Fed funds target rate: Expected 0.875 pct; Prior 0.625 16:00 Net L-T flows, ex swaps for Jan: Prior -12.9 bln 16:00 Foreign buying, T-bonds for Jan: Prior -21.9 bln 16:00 Overall net capital flow for Jan: Prior -42.8 bln 16:00 Net L-T flows, including swaps for Jan: Prior -29.4 bln 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$1.35) (Reporting by Nayyar Rasheed in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)
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