Slump Set To Continue for Cdn. Equities

Thomson, Aphria in Focus

Futures pointed to a lower opening for Canada's main stock index on Tuesday as oil prices continued to fall on rising U.S. crude output and a strengthening dollar.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index stumbled 144.5 points to close Monday at 16,094.72, placing the index firmly in the red for the year so far.

The Canadian dollar inched up 0.07 cents to 81.14 cents U.S. Tuesday morning.

March futures retreated 0.2% Tuesday.

U.S. private equity firm Blackstone Group LP is in advanced talks to buy an approximate 55% stake in the Financial and Risk business of Thomson Reuters, a deal that would value the unit at about $20 billion including debt

Canaccord Genuity raised the price target on Aphria Inc. to $26.50 from $23.50

CIBC raised the price target on Teck Resources to $46.00 from $45.00

National Bank of Canada raised the target price on Toronto-Dominion Bank to $80 from $78

U.S. President Donald Trump's trade chief rejected Canadian proposals for unblocking North American Free Trade Agreement modernization talks on Monday but pledged to seek "breakthroughs" by late February, easing concerns that Washington would soon withdraw from the trilateral pact.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange faltered 11.52 points, or 1.3%, Monday to 879.18

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stock index futures were trading sharply lower ahead of Tuesday's open as investors braced for a second straight day of selling.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrials plummeted 189 points, or 0.7%, to 26,241,

S&P 500 futures faltered 11.5 points, or 0.4%, to 2,842, while futures on the NASDAQ Composite slid 32.5 points, or 0.5%, at 6,960

Shares of UnitedHealth were the worst performers on the Dow before the bell Tuesday, falling 6.7%. UnitedHealth fell after Amazon, J.P. Morgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway announced plans to partner on ways to cut health-care costs. Express Scripts' stock, meanwhile, was the biggest laggard in the S&P 500, dropping 7.2%.

Elsewhere, U.S. companies that reported earnings Tuesday included Pfizer and Aetna. Both companies reported better-than-expected earnings and revenue.

In data news, the S&P/Case-Shiller house price index is slated to come out at 9 a.m. ET, followed by consumer confidence data and housing vacancies at 10 a.m. ET and the Dallas Fed's Texas Service Sector Outlook survey at 10:30 a.m. ET.

President Donald Trump is expected to deliver his State of the Union address for 2018 to a joint session of Congress.

Overseas, European markets fell an average of 0.6%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 index let go of 1.4%, and in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index shed 1.1%.

Oil prices dipped 62 cents to $64.94 U.S. per barrel.

Gold prices gained $1.70 to $1,346.80 U.S. an ounce.