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Before the Bell: Futures flat after markets' record run

The Before the Bell report is compiled by editors of The Globe and Mail and is updated throughout the morning to reflect latest developments. Colin Cieszynski, Chartered Financial Analyst and Chartered Market Technician, is chief market strategist with CMC Markets.

Stock markets around the world are off to a mixed start this week. Asia Pacific started lower with the Nikkei falling 0.9 per cent. The FTSE, DAX and U.S. index futures are all pretty much flat. Crude oil is up 0.6 per cent.

The biggest trading action so far has been in currency markets with Sterling in the spotlight. Over the weekend reports indicated that Scotland could be heading for another independence referendum with the Scottish National Party wanting a vote in 2018 before Brexit, with the U.K. government looking to a date after Brexit in 2019. There also have been reports the House of Lords could demand changes to the Brexit bill.

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Interestingly, the British pound is down against the U.S. dollar, but steady against the euro amid polls showing the two main parties in Germany running neck and neck. Gold and other major currencies are holding steady relative to the greenback but this could change as the week progresses.

In the U.S. today, durable goods orders are due but the focus remains on President Donald Trump's speech to Congress Tuesday night. Traders are counting on details on the President's tax reform plans ‎to support the recent rally in stocks. This week, manufacturing and Service Purchasing Managersi Index reports and other economic indicators are due, plus Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen speaks later in the week, keeping speculation on a March rate hike bubbling away.

It's also a big week for news in Canada with the remaining big bank earnings Tuesday, the Bank of Canada on Wednesday, and GDP on Thursday. The bank is not expected to take action on interest rates but indications of whether or not Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz is still worried about U.S. actions on trade sideswiping Canada could attract attention.

Last night's Oscar awards saw Moonlight, produced by independent studio A24, take home the big Best Picture win. Shares of Lion's Gate, which had four of the nine nominees including pre-event favourite La La Land could be impacted. Although the studio took home Best Actor, Best Actress and a number of other categories, close still only counts in horseshoes.

Now, here is a closer look at key market data, and corporate and economic news.


Futures (as of about 7:30 a.m. ET)

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Dow -0.03 per cent; S&P 500 -0.02 per cent; Nasdaq: -0.10 per cent; TSX 60 -0.03 per cent

Japan's Nikkei -0.91 per cent
Shanghai composite index -0.75 per cent
Hong Kong's Hang Seng -0.17 per cent 
Germany's DAX +0.07 per cent
London's FTSE +0.11 per cent
France's CAC 40 -0.13 per cent

WTI crude oil (Nymex April) +0.67 per cent at $54.36 (U.S.) a barrel
Gold (Comex April) -0.22 per cent at $1,255.50  (U.S.) an ounce
Copper (Comex May) -0.19 per cent at $2.69 (U.S.) a pound

Canadian dollar -0.24 at 76.24 cents (U.S.)
U.S. dollar index flat at 100.95

Canada 10-year bond yield -0.11 at 1.61 per cent


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Euro Area M3 money supply, economic confidence and consumer confidence
U.K. Upper House begins detailed review of Article 50

(8:30 a.m. ET) U.S. durable goods orders for January. The consensus projection is an increase of 1.9 per cent from December. Excluding transport, the projection is an increase of 0.5 per cent.

(10 a.m. ET) U.S. pending home sales for January. Consensus is a rise of 0.9 per cent from December.
(10:30 a.m. ET) U.S. Dallas Fed Manufacturing Activity.


Also see: Monday's small-cap stocks to watch


Electric carmaker Tesla slipped nearly 2 percent in premarket trading after Goldman Sachs downgraded the company's stock to "sell" from "neutral" and lowered its price target.


Apple edged up 0.4 percent to $137.20 after Warren Buffett told CNBC that Berkshire Hathaway had bought 120 million shares of the iPhone maker this year.


La Jolla Pharmaceutical jumped 41 percent to $28 following the success of its lead experimental drug in a late-stage study.


 Sun Communities dropped 5.9 percent to $78.61 after Citigroup downgraded the REIT's stock to "neutral", according to a trader.


MKM downgraded apparel retailer Urban Outfitters to "sell" from "neutral" due to expected declines in sales and margins at the company's Anthropologie unit.


Under Armour was downgraded to "reduce" from "neutral" at Nomura Instinet, with the price target cut to $16 per share from $27. The firm feels Under Armour has moved past its high growth phase.


Earnings include: Africa Oil Corp.; Albemarle Corp.; American Tower Corp,; North West Company Inc.; ONEOK Inc.; Perrigo Company PLC; PrairieSky Royalty Ltd.; TWC  Enterprises Ltd.; Vermilion Energy Inc.; Wajax Corp.; Workday Inc.

With files from wire services

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