TSX set for lower open amid fiscal cliff concerns, mixed commodity prices - InfoNews

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TSX set for lower open amid fiscal cliff concerns, mixed commodity prices

December 27, 2012 - 5:31 AM

TORONTO - The Toronto stock market was set for a lower open Thursday as traders get back to work following the Christmas and Boxing Day holidays and keep an eye on Washington's attempts to avoid going over the so-called "fiscal cliff."

That’s the name for the double-whammy of steep tax increases and spending cuts set to click in at the beginning of 2013. The combination would erode already weak U.S. economic growth and likely send the economy back into recession, taking other global economies down along with it.

The Canadian dollar was little changed from Monday's close before the two-day holiday, down 0.02 of a cent to 100.86 cents US.

U.S. futures were higher ahead of the release of jobless claims and consumer confidence data.

The Dow Jones industrial futures gained 18 points to 13,066, the Nasdaq futures climbed 7.5 points to 2,636 and the S&O futures rose 2.8 points to 2,416.3.

U.S. President Barack Obama was to resume budget talks with Congress after cutting short his Hawaii vacation. Congressional officials said Wednesday they knew of no significant strides toward a compromise over a long Christmas weekend.

Trading was expected to be sluggish following the break for Christmas as many traders are expected to remain on vacation at least until next week.

On Wednesday, U.S. stocks fell for a third session as trading resumed after the Christmas break. Disappointing holiday sales weighed heavy on retail companies and investors worried about the impending fiscal cliff.

Commodities were mixed with the February crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose eight cents to US$91.06 a barrel.

March copper was unchanged at US$3.60 a pound after rising five cents Wednesday. The gain, the largest in four weeks, came after workers rejected a wage proposal at BHP Billiton's Escondida mine in Chile, the world's biggest source of the metal viewed as an economic barometer.

February bullion was off $4 to US$1,656.70 an ounce.

Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 0.9 per cent to close at its highest finish since March 2011. That added to Wednesday’s 1.5 per cent gain and took the Nikkei to a 22 per cent increase for the year. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.4 per cent. South Korea’s Kospi added nearly 0.3 per cent. Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan and Australia also posted gains.

In China, shares lost ground, with the Shanghai Composite Index falling 0.6 per cent while the Shenzhen Composite Index lost 0.8 per cent.

European bourses were positive after Germany’s finance minister said the worst of euro area’s debt crisis appears to be over after three years of worries over Greece and other members of the group of 17 European Union countries that use the single currency.

London's FTSE 100 index ahead 0.54 per cent, Frankfurt's DAX gained 0.34 per cent while the Paris CAC 40 was up 0.78 per cent.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2012
The Canadian Press

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