Bay Street May Open Slightly Higher

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(RTTNews.com) - Canadian shares may open with a positive bias on Friday amid hopes U.S. and China will agree on a trade deal before the expiry of the March 1 deadline.

However, sluggish commodity prices and largely disappointing economic data from China and Europe may weigh on sentiment.

The U.S. jobs data, due before the opening bell, and reports on inventories and wholesales sales in the U.S., due a little later, are expected to make an impact as well.

The two-day U.S.-China trade talks in Washington ended without anything concrete results. However, U.S. President President Donald Trump said he would meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and that the trade dispute would hopefully be resolved before the March 1 deadline.

On Thursday, the benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended up 56.05 points, or 0.36%, at 15,540.60, extending gains to a sixth successive session.

In company news, Teck Resources Limited (TECK.B.TO) announced Thursday that it currently expects to report earnings and EBITDA for the fourth quarter of 2018 significantly below current consensus estimates. The company expects to report a loss of C$92 million before depreciation and amortization and inventory writedowns in Energy Business Unit, resulting in an after tax loss of C$86 million or C$0.15 per share.

Asian markets ended on a muted note on Friday as weak manufacturing data from China as well as lingering trade tensions offset upbeat corporate earnings results from the U.S. The mood was cautious with investors looking ahead to U.S. jobs data.

European shares were moving higher despite a lack of progress on U.S.-China trade front. The two-day U.S.-China trade talks ended without concrete results, though China promised to "substantially" expand purchases of U.S. goods.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump said the trade dispute would hopefully be resolved before the March 1 deadline.

In economic releases from Eurozone,

UK manufacturing growth slowed more-than-expected in January to its lowest level in three months, survey data from IHS Markit showed on Friday. The IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers' Index for manufacturing fell to 52.8 from 54.2 in December. Economists had forecast a score of 53.5.

Eurozone consumer price inflation slowed for a third month in January to its lowest level in eleven months, rising just 1.4% year-on-year, after a 1.6% increase in December. Core inflation accelerated to 1.1% in January from 1% in December.

Meanwhile, Eurozone manufacturing sector moved closer to stagnation in January amid a modest gain in output and a sharp fall in new orders, survey data from IHS Markit showed on Friday. The final Eurozone manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index dropped to 50.5, from 51.4 in December, falling for the sixth straight month.

Sweden's manufacturing growth slowed for a second straight month in January to its lowest level in nearly three years.

Data from State Secretariat for Economic Affairs in Switzerland said Swiss consumer confidence improved further in the three months to January as expectations regarding the labor market and personal financial situation improved.

In commodities, crude oil futures for March were down $0.07, or 0.13%, at $53.72 a barrel.

Gold futures for April were gaining $0.50, or 0.04%, at $1,325.70 an ounce.

Silver futures for March were declining $0.082, or 0.51%, at $15.990 an ounce, while Copper futures for March were down $0.0250, or 0.9%, at $2.7595 per pound.

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