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Toronto stock market to find little direction before BoC interest rate decision

The TMX Group logo, home of the TSX, is shown in Toronto on June 28, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim
January 22, 2014 - 5:34 AM

TORONTO - The Toronto stock market appeared ready for only small directional moves on Wednesday morning as commodity prices were mixed ahead of the Bank of Canada's interest rate decision.

The Canadian dollar rose 0.08 of a cent to 91.22 cents U.S. before the central bank announcement, due at 10 a.m.

The Bank of Canada isn't expected to hike rates or alter the course of its neutral stance about future changes.

However, the language of the announcement will be closely scrutinized for insight into how the bank views weak inflation figures, which have stayed below a target of two per cent.

In commodities, the February gold bullion contract slipped $1.40 to US$1,240.40 an ounce.

The February crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 54 cents to US$95.51 a barrel.

On Wall Street, futures were lower after disappointing financial results from IBM Corp. after market close on Tuesday.

The Dow Jones industrial futures dropped 40 points to 16,315, the Nasdaq futures was 0.5 of a point lower to 3,609 and the S&P 500 futures moved back two points to 1,836.

IBM reported that fourth-quarter net income grew six per cent, surpassing Wall Street's expectations even though revenue declined. Chief executive Ginni Rometty said she's recommending that senior executives, including herself, forgo personal bonuses for the year.

In other corporate developments, Air Canada (TSX:AC.A) says its domestic pension plans had a small surplus as of Jan. 1, according to preliminary estimates — contrasting with the $3.7-billion solvency deficit that they had a year earlier.

TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP) says it will provide more details about the official startup of crude oil shipments on the southern portion of its controversial Keystone XL pipeline later today. TransCanada had previously announced Jan. 22 as the date for deliveries to U.S. refineries in the Gulf of Mexico region.

On Tuesday, BlackBerry (TSX:BB) announced it is selling the majority of its commercial real estate holdings in Canada, but the struggling smartphone maker refused to say how much it expects to make from the deals.

The struggling smartphone maker has been trying to change the course of its money-losing operations under the leadership of new CEO John Chen.

Meanwhile, Atlanta-based cloud computing company VMware says it is buying mobile computing company AirWatch for about $1.18 billion in cash. AirWatch has been one of BlackBerry's most aggressive competitors for big business customers.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of major British stocks gained 0.4 per cent to 6,862.04 and Germany's DAX inched up 0.2 per cent to 9,750.76. The CAC-40 in France added 0.3 per cent to 4,335.35.

Japan's Nikkei, the regional heavyweight, gained 0.2 per cent to 15,820.96 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose 0.2 per cent to 23,082.25. South Korea's Kospi was down 0.3 per cent at 1,970.42 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.2 per cent to 5,319.80. India's Sensex added 0.2 per cent.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2014
The Canadian Press

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