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Toronto market looks to gains as Fed meeting heads into its final day

TORONTO - The Toronto stock market is aiming for a slightly positive open on Wednesday as investors anticipate a policy statement from the U.S. Federal Reserve that could lead to further economic stimulus.

The Fed finishes a two-day meeting Wednesday, with expectations that it will announce new stimulus for the world's No. 1 economy. The European Central Bank meets Thursday.

The Canadian dollar was up 0.18 of a cent to 99.89 cents US.

In commodities, the September crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange lifted 38 cents to US$88.44 a barrel.

September copper moved down 2.2 cents to US$3.395 a pound while August gold fell $4.40 to US$1,606.10 an ounce.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial futures are up 49 points to 12,998 and the broader S&P futures are ahead five points to 1,379.60. Nasdaq futures gained 10.75 points at 2,647.25.

In corporate developments, WestJet Airlines Ltd. (TSX:WJA) says it will hike its quarterly dividend to shareholders by 33 per cent as second-quarter profits hit a record $42.5 million or 31 cents per share. Revenue was up 12.2 per cent to $809.3 million.

Talisman Energy (TSX:TLM) reported a sharp fall in its second-quarter profit and revenue due to weaker commodity prices and higher operating costs. The Calgary-based company posted net income of US$196 million, or 19 cents per share, from $698 million, or 68 cents per share. Revenue declined to $1.87 billion from $2.23 billion.

Torstar Corp. (TSX:TS.B) earned $35.7 million or 45 cents per share in the second quarter, from $112.7 million or $1.42 per share a year earlier, though that included $74.6 million or 94 cents per share from the sale of Torstar's investment in CTV Inc.

In morning European trade, France's CAC 40 climbed 0.3 per cent to 3,302.75 and Germany's DAX rose 0.2 per cent to 6,785.56. Britain's FTSE 100 was up 0.6 per cent at 5,670.29. Wall Street was poised to gain with Dow futures up 0.3 per cent and S&P 500 futures higher by 0.2 per cent.

Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average closed down 0.6 per cent at 8,641.85 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.1 per cent to 19,820.38. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.2 per cent to 4,262.80. South Korea's Kospi shed 0.1 per cent to 1,879.93. Markets in Indonesia and India also fell while the Shanghai Composite gained 0.9 per cent to 2,123.36.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2012
The Canadian Press

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