North American stock markets appear headed for a flat opening, despite more disappointing news overnight out of Europe where a meeting of euro-zone finance ministers and International Monetary Fund officials ended without agreement on how to prevent Greece from going bust.
U.S. stock index futures are unchanged to just slightly in the red ahead of the open, with crude and gold posting modest gains.
The euro-zone's 17 finance ministers stated that they needed more time to "allow further technical work on some elements." They will meet again on Monday to try to thrash out a deal, which has been difficult to reach amid disagreement over debt-to-gross domestic product targets for Greece.
Amid the latest efforts to pull the region out of its debt crisis, the euro is weaker against the U.S. dollar, but is well off its lows for the day, trading down 0.1 per cent at about $1.2803.
Asian markets gained latitude overnight, even though the latest economic reading out of Japan -- with its exports falling 6.5 per cent in October from a year earlier -- wasn't very uplifting. That was weaker than the 4.9 per cent drop economists were expecting.
It'll be a struggle for the TSX and U.S. markets to post any meaningful gains today ahead of American Thanksgiving day on Thursday. U.S. markets will be closed for the holiday and will only be open for half a session on Friday. That should translate into thin volumes for the TSX for the rest of the week, and looming worries about the fiscal cliff of tax increases and spending cuts set to take hold at the end of the year in the U.S. will keep traders cautious.
Now, here's what else you need to know this morning.
Futures: Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq all unchanged
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index +1.39 per cent
Shanghai composite index +1.05 per cent
Japan’s Nikkei +0.88 per cent
London’s FTSE 100 -0.12 per cent
Germany’s DAX +0.03 per cent
France's CAC 40 +0.06 per cent
WTI (Nymex Jan) +0.85 per cent at $87.49 (U.S.) a barrel
Gold (Comex Dec) +0.15 per cent at $1,726.10 (U.S.) an ounce
Copper (Comex Mar) -0.34 per cent at $3.51 (U.S.) a pound
Canadian dollar up 0.0003, or 0.03 per cent, at 1.0032 (U.S.)
STOCKS AND ECONOMIC INDICATORS TO WATCH:
U.S. initial jobless claims fell by 41,000 to 410,000 last week, matching expectations.
(0955 a.m. ET) Reuter's/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index for November. Economists expected a reading of 84.0, down from last month's 84.9.
Deere & Co. reported a higher quarterly profit as stronger machinery sales in North America offset weaker international demand, and it forecast higher sales and earnings in fiscal 2013. But shares are down 2.3 per cent in the premarket as the profit figure was less than analysts' expected.
Other earnings include Rogers Sugar Inc.
THIS MORNING'S TOP INVESTING READS ON THE WEB:
A chart that busts the myth that corporations are de-leveraging.
BMO is launching four new exchange traded funds. The Canadian Couch Potato blog takes a look at two of them.
Top 10 high-conviction stock purchases made by Morningstar's ultimate stock pickers.
The backlog of US initial public offerings waiting to come to market is at its lowest in more than three years as companies worry about the market conditions next year following the looming fiscal cliff.
Some notable investors think this could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to buy Apple cheap.
For instant headlines on breaking economic and corporate news in the premarket, follow Darcy Keith on Twitter at @eyeonequities