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Premarket: Stocks set for modest gains, RIM's U.S. shares surge Add to ...

North American stock markets should open firmer this morning, but it should be a subdued day overall, as major U.S. exchanges are only open for a half a day after the Thanksgiving holiday.

U.S. stock futures are modestly higher, mirroring gains in overseas markets, finding some encouragement from an unexpected rise in German business confidence.

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The Ifo institute said its business climate index climbed to 101.4 this month, beating expectations for about 99.5. It was a welcome reading that prompted some economists to speculate that the recent better-than-expected factory data from the U.S. and China this week may eventually help benefit German industry.

Markets are keeping a close eye on the second day of European Union budget talks today. A tense first session on Thursday left many observers predicting leaders will need more time to bridge their differences over the bloc’s spending priorities for the years to come. Euro-area finance ministers are meeting Monday to discuss aid to Greece, which will be even more closely followed by market players.

Greece's finance minister said today that the International Monetary Fund has relaxed its debt-cutting target for Greece and only a €10-billion ($13-billion) gap remains to be filled for a vital aid tranche to be paid. But others involved in the talks cautioned that the funding gap was far bigger than that suggested by Greece and that the two sides were not on the verge of striking a deal to resolve the euro zone’s most intractable problem.

Research In Motion Ltd will continue to be in focus today. In premarket trading, its shares are up 13 per cent in the U.S., playing catch up to Thursday's 17 per cent rally in Toronto. It's quite possible that Toronto shares will pull back modestly to bring the stock's value in the two markets in sync.

Now, here's what else you need to know before markets open this morning.

MARKETS:

Equities:

U.S. futures: DJIA +0.3 per cent; S&P 500 +0.3 per cent; Nasdaq +0.4 per cent

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index +0.79 per cent

Shanghai composite index +0.57 per cent

Japan's Nikkei (closed for holiday)

London’s FTSE 100 +0.22 per cent

Germany’s DAX +0.12 per cent

France's CAC 40 +0.14 per cent

Commodities:

WTI (Nymex Jan) -0.09 per cent at $87.30 (U.S.) a barrel

Gold (Comex Dec) +0.31 per cent at $1,733.50 (U.S.) an ounce

Copper (Comex Mar) +0.21 per cent at $3.51 (U.S.) a pound

Currencies:

Canadian dollar up 0.0007, or 0.07 per cent, at 1.0035 (U.S.)

STOCKS AND ECONOMIC INDICATORS TO WATCH:

Statistics Canada said annual inflation was 1.2 per cent in October, a little higher than economists' forecasts of 1.1 per cent. Core inflation was 1.3 per cent.

Research In Motion Ltd.'s U.S.-listed shares are up 13 per cent in the premarket, catching up to Toronto's 17 per cent rally on Thursday, fuelled by optimism about its BlackBerry 10 software.

THIS MORNING'S TOP INVESTING READS ON THE WEB:

Analysts say it may take years for the Chinese stock market to work its way out of this prolonged funk. It is not the economy, they say, but how companies are faring that matters.

Even though Apple is enjoying huge growth in China, it's missing out on the truly explosive growth segment of the market: Mainstream Chinese consumers.

Demographics are painting a grim outlook for equities.

________

For instant headlines on breaking economic and corporate news in the premarket, follow Darcy Keith on Twitter at @eyeonequities

Follow on Twitter: @eyeonequities

 

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