Stocks Set Not to Budge at Thursday Open

Great-West, Husky in Focus

Futures on Canada's main stock index traded flat on Thursday, as uncertainties clouded U.S.-China trade talks, weighing on oil prices.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index maintained gains of 13.11 points to close Wednesday’s session at 16,149.97

The Canadian dollar dipped 0.21 cents to 74.99 cents U.S. early Thursday

June futures inched down 0.01% Thursday.

The federal government said on Wednesday it is beefing up consultations with aboriginal groups to avoid further delays to the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion and is confident it will meet a deadline to ensure the critical project goes ahead.

CIBC raised the rating on Great-West Lifeco to outperform from neutral

Credit Suisse cut the rating on Husky Energy to neutral from outperform

RBC raised the price target on Aritzia Inc. to $23.00 from $22.00

On the economic front, Statistics Canada’s new housing price index stated new housing prices fell in January for the first time since February 2018. The national index declined 0.1% in January, following five consecutive months of unchanged prices.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange recovered 3.27 points Wednesday to 624.22

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stock index futures were slightly lower Thursday morning, after market participants reacted cautiously to mixed economic data from China.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 15 points at 25,754

Futures for the S&P 500 faded 0.75 points at 2,818.75

NASDAQ futures inched up 2.75 points to 7,299.25

Elsewhere, General Electric fell more than 3% in the pre-market after the industrial giant issued weaker-than-expected earnings guidance for 2019.

Market focus is largely attuned to economic developments, after data showed China's industrial output expanded at its slowest rate in 17 years.

The data come as investors seek clues about the health of China's economy, after growth cooled to 6.6% last year.

In the States, weekly jobless claims and import prices for February will be released at 8:30 a.m. EDT. New home sales for January are set to follow slightly later in the session.

Overseas, in Japan, the Nikkei 225 shed more than three points Thursday, while in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index inched up 0.2%

Oil prices crept up two cents to $58.28 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices plunged $11.90 to $1,297.40 U.S. an ounce.