March 1, 2018 / 12:51 PM / 3 months ago

CANADA STOCKS-Futures flat ahead of Powell's testimony

March 1 (Reuters) - Futures for Canada’s main stock index were little changed on Thursday, as U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell is set to continue his testimony to lawmakers later in the day.

Financial markets barely moved on Tuesday when Powell made his initial public statements as Federal Reserve chief, but the calm evaporated a few hours later, when Powell, testifying before a U.S. House of Representatives committee, struck a bullish, and personal, tone on the strength of the economy.

U.S. stocks sold off late to end sharply lower on Wednesday, dragged down by continued worries over rising interest rates.

Canada’s main stock index also slumped on Wednesday, pulled lower by energy shares that fell alongside the price of oil and as Valeant Pharmaceuticals tumbled after it gave a weaker-than-expected revenue forecast.

Dow Jones Industrial Average e-mini futures were down 0.42 percent at 7:15 a.m. ET, while S&P 500 e-mini futures were down 0.34 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures were down 0.28 percent.

March futures on the S&P TSX index were down 0.04 percent at 7:15 a.m. ET.

Canada's current account data is due at 8:30 a.m. ET. The current account deficit in the fourth quarter is expected to have reduced to C$17.8 billion, after having swelled to C$19.35 billion in the previous quarter. (Morning News Call newsletter here ; The Day Ahead newsletter here)

TOP STORIES

Toronto-Dominion Bank reported first-quarter results which were ahead of market expectations, helped by a strong performance in the United States and Canada.

Oil producer Canadian Natural Resources Ltd said its fourth-quarter profit beat estimates, boosted by higher oil production and higher prices.

Canada’s Crescent Point Energy Corp reported a smaller loss in the fourth quarter thanks to higher oil prices and production.

Canadian oil and gas producer Husky Energy Inc reported a higher quarterly profit on Thursday, led by corporate tax cuts in the United States.

Australia’s competition regulator has raised concerns about a planned $1.0 billion takeover of Murray Goulburn Co-operative by Canada’s Saputo Inc, threatening a deal Australia’s largest dairy processor says is key to its survival.

Mexico’s economy minister met with top U.S. trade officials on Wednesday midway through the latest push to renegotiate the NAFTA trade deal, as concerns about steel added to tensions between the two countries.

Canada’s No.2 marijuana producer Aurora Cannabis Inc on Wednesday received final regulatory approval for the purchase of smaller rival CanniMed Therapeutics Inc, which would make it the world’s most valuable weed producer.

ANALYST RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS

Laurentian Bank of Canada: TD Securities cuts target price to C$58 from C$64

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc: Piper Jaffray cuts target price to $10 from $12

COMMODITIES AT 7:15 a.m. ET

Gold futures: $1306.2; -0.71 percent

US crude: $61.17; -0.76 percent

Brent crude: $64.09; -0.99 percent

LME 3-month copper: $6877; -0.78 percent

U.S. ECONOMIC DATA DUE ON THURSDAY

0830 Personal consumption real mm for Jan: Prior 0.3 pct

0830 Personal Income mm for Jan: Expected 0.3 pct; Prior 0.4 pct

0830 Consumption, adjusted mm for Jan: Expected 0.2 pct; Prior 0.4 pct

0830 Core PCE price index mm for Jan: Expected 0.3 pct; Prior 0.2 pct

0830 Core PCE price index yy for Jan: Expected 1.5 pct; Prior 1.5 pct

0830 PCE price index mm for Jan: Prior 0.1 pct

0830 PCE price index yy for Jan: Prior 1.7 pct

0830 Initial jobless claims: Expected 226,000; Prior 222,000

0830 Jobless claims 4-week average: Prior 226,000

0830 Continued jobless claims: Expected 1.930 mln; Prior 1.875 mln

0900 Dallas fed PCE for Jan: Prior 1.8 pct

1000 Construction spending mm for Jan: Expected 0.3 pct; Prior 0.7 pct

1000 ISM Manufacturing PMI for Feb: Expected 58.7; Prior 59.1

1000 ISM Manufacturing Prices Paid for Feb: Expected 70.5; Prior 72.7

1000 ISM Manufacturing Employment Index for Feb: Prior 54.2

1000 ISM Manufacturing New Orders Index for Feb: Prior 65.4

1530 Domestic car sales for Feb: Expected 4.33 mln; Prior 4.11 mln

1530 Total vehicle sales for Feb: Expected 17.20 mln; Prior 17.12 mln

1530 Domestic truck sales for Feb: Expected 9.00 mln; Prior 9.18 mln

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$1.29) (Reporting by Nayyar Rasheed in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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