Stocks Set for Slightly Lower Open

Metro, Blackline in Focus

Futures for Canada's main stock index edged lower on Tuesday, as investors stood on the sidelines and awaited key U.S. business activity data to gauge the impact of the Federal Reserve's aggressive monetary policy on the world's largest economy.

The TSX sprang 128.37 points to conclude Monday at 20,631.58.

March futures on the S&P/TSX index retreated 0.3% Tuesday morning.

The Canadian dollar nicked higher 0.08 cents to 74.86 cents U.S.

Meanwhile, another interest rate hike by the Bank of Canada is looming large, with traders leaning towards a 25-basis-point hike on Wednesday.

On the earnings front, investors will look out for quarterly results from Metro and Blackline Safety before the markets open.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange gave back earlier gains and slid 1.84 points Monday to 621.97.

ON WALLSTREET

Stock futures dipped slightly Tuesday as investors struggled to continue a strong start to the week during a busy stretch of corporate earnings.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrials lurched lower 100 points, or 0.3% early Tuesday to 33,627.

Futures for the S&P 500 lost 11 points, or 0.3%, to 4,025.50.

Futures for the NASDAQ Composite faded 48.25 points, or 0.4%, to 11,885.75.

Earnings season continues Tuesday with results from software giant Microsoft after the bell.

General Electric traded more than 2% higher in the pre-market after the industrial giant posted quarterly results that beat analyst expectations.

GE earned $1.24 per share on revenue of $21.79 billion for the previous quarter. Analysts expected earnings of $1.13 per share on revenue of $21.59 billion, according to Refinitiv.

AMD shares slipped more than 2% after Bernstein downgraded the semiconductor manufacturer to market perform from outperform. The firm cited worsening personal computer market trends for the downgrade.

Shares of Zions Bancorp fell more than 2% despite the regional bank beating earnings estimates for the fourth quarter. Zions reported $1.84 in earnings per share, above the $1.65 expected by analysts. Net interest income also beat estimates.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 advanced 1.5% Tuesday, while in Hong Kong, markets were closed for the Lunar New Year.

Oil prices gathered 23 cents to $81.85 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices picked up $11.50 to $1,940.10 U.S. an ounce.