Futures Clear Breakeven

Couche-Tard, Nutrien in Spotlight

Futures for Canada's main stock index were marginally up on Wednesday, gaining support from higher crude prices as a fall in the number of new coronavirus cases in China for the second straight day eased oil demand worries.

The TSX Composite Index squeaked ahead 9.98 points to conclude Tuesday’s trading at 17,858.34.

The Canadian dollar acquired 0.21 cents early Wednesday at 75.63 cents U.S.

March futures eked up 0.05% early Wednesday.

Caltex Australia Ltd said on Wednesday that Britain's EG Group has offered to buy the convenience store, petrol station and refinery firm, rivaling Canada's Alimentation Couche-Tard's twice-improved A$8.80 billion bid.

Nutrien Ltd on Tuesday reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly profit and forecast full-year earnings below analysts' estimates on weak global demand for fertilizers and lower potash prices.

RBC cut the price target on Air Canada to $58.00 from $59.00

Bryan Garnier cut the fair value on Aphria Inc. to $6.50 from $12.40

CIBC cut the price target on Park Lawn Corp. to $33.00 from $34.00

On the economic beat, Statistics Canada said Wednesday the consumer price index rose 2.4% on a year-over-year basis in January, up from a 2.2% increase in December. On a seasonally-adjusted monthly basis, the CPI rose 0.1% in January.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange gained a solid 6.57 points Tuesday to 577.06.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stock index futures were slightly higher Wednesday morning.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrials regained 90 points, or 0.3%, early Wednesday to 29,301.

Futures for the S&P 500 picked up 10.25 points, or 0.3%, at 3,379.50.

Futures for the NASDAQ Composite jumped 45.75 points, on 0.5%, to 9,681.75.

In corporate news, Elanco Animal Health, Garmin, and Genuine Parts are among some of the companies scheduled to report earnings before the opening bell.

Host Hotels, Synopsys, and Zillow are among some of the companies set to release their latest quarterly figures after market close.

Market focus remains largely attuned to the potential economic fallout of the coronavirus outbreak. China’s National Health Commission on Wednesday reported an additional 1,749 cases of the coronavirus nationwide, with 136 deaths.

As of Feb. 18, the commission said there had been a total of 74,185 confirmed cases and 2,004 cumulative deaths.

Cases of the deadly flu-like virus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, have been reported in more than two dozen countries around the world.

Last month, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a global health emergency.

On the data front, the Labor Department will publish its producer price index (PPI) for January this morning, with housing starts for January, building permits for January, and a business leaders survey for February all due at the same time.

The Federal Reserve is also scheduled to publish its meeting minutes from December, when policymakers at the U.S. central bank decided to hold short-term interest rates steady between a range of 1.5% to 1.75%.

Overseas, in Japan, the Nikkei 225 gained 0.9% Wednesday, while in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index nicked ahead 0.5%,

Oil prices moved up 70 cents to $52.75 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices strengthened $7.40 to $1,611 U.S. an ounce.

Futures Pointing to Slightly Higher Open