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The Before the Bell report is constantly updated to reflect the latest news developments and market moves in the premarket. Check back later for updates.

A decision by the Swiss National Bank to ditch its currency ceiling against the euro has stunned global markets, resulting in volatility in stock futures this morning on a scale that is rarely seen.

Futures for the Dow Jones industrial average had been enjoying gains of more than 100 points early today, before reversing course to post losses of more than 100 points. They have since pared those losses, and are back to trading slightly negative.

Trading today on Bay Street and Wall Street clearly won't be for the faint of heart, and the tendency among traders may be to seek safer assets than stocks. That may include flocking to credit markets; indeed, the U.S. 10-year bond yield this morning is re-testing multi-year lows.

The Swiss franc jumped by nearly 30 per cent immediately after the Swiss central bank lifted the 1.20 per euro cap that has been in place since late 2011, surging past parity with the common currency. Swiss stocks had their biggest daily fall in 26 years, at one point down by 12 per cent. Volatility also quickly spread to other financial markets across Europe.

The Swiss also brought its interest rates further into negative territory. Today's unexpected action has market players questioning the credibility of the world's central banks. The minimum exchange rate was a tool Swiss policy makers had said just days ago was required to ward off deflation.

The moves are intended to bulk up the nation's monetary defenses ahead of what is expected to be new and aggressive bond buying measures by the European Central Bank. By lifting the ceiling, the Swiss Central Bank is hoping investors will view the Swiss franc less as a safe haven, thereby avoiding a negative shock for the Swiss economy. ECB policy makers meet next week.

Crude oil prices this morning are extending Wednesday's rally of about 5 per cent, and the most active U.S. futures contract is trading above $50 (U.S.) per barrel. The move Wednesday was partly attributed to the expiry of options, and less to any fresh news on the fundamental front. Copper futures are up nearly 2 per cent, marking a partial recovery from their approximately 5 per cent plunge on Wednesday, amid global economic growth concerns and a weak showing in December U.S. retail sales.

There's lots of corporate news out this morning, including job cuts and a $1.4-billion charge at Bombardier, and Target dropping a bombshell: it's ceasing its Canadian operations.

Here's a closer look at what's going on this morning and what is still to come.



S&P 500 -0.13 per cent; Dow -0.03 per cent; Nasdaq -0.22 per cent; S&P/TSX +0.10 per cent


Hong Kong's Hang Seng +0.99 per cent

Shanghai composite index +3.52 per cent

Japan's Nikkei +1.86 per cent

London's FTSE 100 +0.71 per cent

Germany's DAX +1.07 per cent

France's CAC 40 +1.30 per cent

Stoxx 600 +1.86 per cent


WTI crude oil (Nymex Mar) +2.72 per cent at $50.29 (U.S.) a barrel

Natural gas (Nymex Mar) +2.12 per cent at $3.28

Gold (Comex Feb) +1.73 per cent at $1,255.90 (U.S.) an ounce

Copper (Comex Mar) +3.13 per cent at $2.58 (U.S.) a pound


Canadian dollar at 84.23 (U.S.), up 0.0066

U.S. dollar index down 0.35 at 91.80


U.S. 10-year Treasury yield 1.81 per cent, down 0.05


U.S. jobless claims last week were 316,000, above the 290,000 that was expected.

U.S. producer prices for December fell 0.3 per cent versus expectations for a 0.4 per cent drop.

Canada reports its November new motor vehicle sales report. Estimates call for a 4.4 per cent year-over-year increase.

(9 a.m.) Canada reports its December existing home sales and average prices index, and the MLS home price index. Estimates are for year-over-year increases of 4 per cent, 5 per cent, and 5.2 per cent respectively.


Target said it will cease its Canadian operations. Shares are up 8 per cent in the premarket.

Bombardier said it will cut 1,000 jobs and take $1.4-billion charge by suspending its Learjet 85 aircraft program.

BlackBerry shares are down 14 per cent in the premarket. They surged 30 per cent Wednesday after a Reuters report emerged that Samsung approached with a takeover offer. Sources close to the company have told the Globe and Mail that no sale process is in place and the fallen smartphone maker will stick with a multiyear plan that includes introducing new products and services aimed at corporate and government users.

Best Buy shares tumbled 7 before the opening bell after the electronics retailer posted disappointing holiday sales results.

Bank of America reported Q4 adjusted EPS of 32 cents (U.S.) vs. the Street estimated 31 cents. Shares are down 2 per cent in the premarket.

Citigroup reported Q4 GAAP EPS of 6 cents (U.S.) versus the expected 9 cents. Revenue miss expectations.

RadioShack shares are down 30 per cent in the premarket after the Wall Street Journal repored it is preparing to file for bankruptcy as soon as next month.

Other earnings today include: Com Dev International, Sandvine, BlackRock Inc., Intel Corp., Lennar Corp., Schlumberger NV, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing.


Canaccord Genuity upgraded Gluskin Sheff + Associates to "buy" from "hold" and maintained a $33 (Canadian) price target.

Canaccord Genuity upgraded Magna International to "buy" from "hold" on share price weakness following its reduced guidance this week. Its target price was increased to $111 (U.S.) from $110.


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