The Toronto Stock Exchange is in store for a thinly traded session today, as U.S. markets are closed for a holiday. There also isn't a lot of fresh news to rattle investors' nerves, so the S&P/TSX composite index shouldn't stray too far from unchanged.
Asian markets overnight were lower, led by Japan, while European stocks this morning are seeing mild gains.
The Nikkei fell 1.5 per cent, giving back roughly half of Friday's 2.9 per cent rally that brought the Japanese index to its highest point since April 30, 2010. The U.S. dollar fell against the yen overnight - a negative for Japan's export sector - as a two-day policy meeting at the country's central bank began.
In Europe, stocks were still taking their cue from Wall Street's gains on Friday, with traders encouraged that there may not be any imminent budgetary crisis in Washington over the debt ceiling. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor sparked the rise in U.S. stocks Friday after saying the House of Representatives will vote to authorize a three-month increase in the ceiling to give Congress time to pass a budget.
In the meantime, euro-zone finance ministers are getting together in Brussels today for the first time this year. On the agenda will be discussions on how to send rescue funds directly to banks instead of through governments.
In currency markets, the Canadian dollar is lower against the greenback this morning in thin trade, down about three-quarters of a cent to just above parity, at $1.0070 per U.S.
Now, here's a closer look at what else you need to know this morning:
U.S. futures: S&P 500 +0.3 per cent; Dow +0.2 per cent; Nasdaq -0.2 per cent
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index -0.05 per cent
Shanghai composite index +0.47 per cent
Japan's Nikkei -1.51 per cent
London’s FTSE 100 +0.22 per cent
Germany’s DAX +0.37 per cent
France's CAC 40 +0.23 per cent
WTI (Nymex Mar) -0.22 per cent at $95.73 (U.S.) a barrel
Gold (Comex Feb) -0.18 per cent at $1,687.70 (U.S.) an ounce
Copper (Comex Mar) +0.23 per cent at $3.67 (U.S.) a pound
Canadian dollar down 0.0077, or 0.76 per cent, at $1.0070 (U.S.)
ECONOMIC INDICATORS TO WATCH:
Statistics Canada said wholesale trade in November rose 0.7 per cent from October, higher than economists' forecasts of 0.5 per cent. Wholesale inventories fell 0.4 per cent.
STOCKS TO WATCH
Rona Inc. announced a wide-ranging shake-up of its board, with the chairman of Richelieu Hardware, Robert Chevrier, being installed as the new chairman.
Dell Inc. has hired independent investment bank advisory firm Evercore Partners to try to get a higher bid, according to Bloomberg News, after reports it may be bought out by Silver Lake Management LLC.
THIS MORNING'S TOP INVESTING READS ON THE WEB:
The market’s return over the next four years is likely to be somewhat below average, according to a market-timing model that has exploited the stock market’s long-term predictability to turn in an enviable record.
What you should look for in a small-cap stock.
New Fed transcripts prove it: Jim Cramer was right when he ranted, to much criticism in 2007, that Ben Bernanke had no idea how bad the financial crisis was.
A reliable sentiment indicator suggests that speculators remain cautious, which usually bodes well for market returns.
In a promising signal for this earnings season, some 60.2 per cent of companies that have reported so far in the U.S. have beaten revenue estimates.
Is a bubble brewing in the European corporate debt market?
The performance of currency-hedged funds still lags that of the local currency fund by a significant margin.
Former Globe and Mail writer Mathew Ingram on why he might ditch his iPhone for an Android.
The premarket report is constantly updated to reflect the latest news developments and market moves. For instant headlines on breaking economic and corporate news in the premarket, follow Darcy Keith on Twitter at @eyeonequities