Stocks to Dip at Open

SNC, First Quantum in Focus

Indices in Toronto were set for a modestly lower opening on Friday after oil prices fell over doubts that production cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Countries will restore balance to an oversupplied market.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index gained 72.68 points, to end Thursday at 15,625.56. June futures were off 0.04% Friday

The Canadian dollar decreased 0.03 cents to 74.22 cents U.S. early Friday.

SNC-Lavalin Group Inc on Thursday said it would buy British engineering and consultancy firm WS Atkins Plc for $3.6 billion, firming up an indicative offer it made earlier this month.

In a move seen as a victory for net neutrality advocates, Canada's telecom regulator said all data delivered online should be treated equally by internet service providers as it blocked one company's effort to leverage content to win customers.

Barclays cuts target price on First Quantum Minerals to $14.00 from $14.20

TD Securities cut the target price on Home Capital Group to $23.00 from $33.00

Credit Suisse cut the rating on Hudson's Bay Co. to neutral from outperform

On the economic calendar, Statistics Canada reported Friday that March’s consumer price index rose 1.6% on a year-over-year basis, following a 2.0% increase in February.

The agency adds, on a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, inflation was down 0.2% in March, after decreasing 0.3% in February.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange recovered 5.41 points Thursday to 821.77

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a slightly higher open on Friday after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the White House would unveil a tax plan "very soon."

Ahead of the opening bell, futures for the Dow Jones Industrials climbed 15 points, or 0.1%, to 20,543. Futures for the S&P 500 added three points, or 0.1%, to 2,355. NASDAQ futures gained 7.75 points, or 0.1%, to 5,450.50

On the earnings front, General Electric posted better-than-expected quarterly results, while Morningstar is set to report after the bell.

On the economic calendar, Friday will see existing home sales released at 10:00 a.m. ET.

In Europe, markets were slightly higher, while in Asia, the Nikkei 225 leaped 1%, while Shanghai’s CSI 300 gained 0.1%

Investors will be keeping an eye on earnings and watching developments in Europe, where the first round of the French presidential will take place on Sunday.

On Thursday night, France was shaken by a suspected terror attack. One policeman was killed and two were wounded after a gunman, who was later shot dead by police, opened fire.

Sunday will see French voters cast their ballots in the first round of their presidential election. The race is seen as too close to call, and could have a wide-ranging impact depending on the result.

Those in the running include the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen; the independent centrist Emmanuel Macron; and the conservative candidate Francois Fillon. The top two candidates in the first round will face a runoff on May 7.

Oil prices dipped eight cents to $50.63 U.S. per barrel.

Gold prices took on a dollar to $1,284.80 U.S. an ounce.