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Before the Bell: TSX futures rise with oil prices, loonie

The Before the Bell report is compiled by editors of The Globe and Mail and is updated throughout the morning to reflect latest developments. Colin Cieszynski, Chartered Financial Analyst and Chartered Market Technician, is chief market strategist with CMC Markets.

Energy prices are climbing this morning with oil rallying 0.8 per cent, while gasoline and natural gas gaining 1.0 per cent.

Stock markets are mixed. U.S. index futures are up 0.2 per cent. In Europe, the FTSE is down 0.1 per cent, while the Dax is up 0.1 per cent. In Asia, the Hang Seng rose 0.3 per cent, while the Nikkei fell 0.3 per cent.

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‎The big story overnight and this morning is the UK inflation report which has seen consumer prices spike 2.3 per cent more than the 2.1 per cent the Street had expected and last month's 1.8 per cent. This news has sparked a big figure rally in the pound. At last week's Bank of England meeting, one MPC member voted for an interest rate increase on inflation concerns and this news adds to her case.

In other news, the UK continues to move toward triggering Article 50, planned for Wednesday March 29. The first French election debate appears to have been won by Emmanuel Macron,‎ according to polls. In Germany, the latest poll shows the Socialist party taking the lead over chancellor Angela Merkel.

In North America today, the main event was Canadian retail sales.  Sales jumped 2.2 per cent in January, the largest increase since March 2010. Economists forecast a 1.5-per-cent gain.

The Canadian dollar is already on the rebound ahead of this news tracking with the rebound in energy prices.

In the U.S., the political focus remains on the health care reform bill with Fed speakers likely to continue talking interest rate increases.

MARKET DATA:

Futures (as of about 8:30 a.m. ET)

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Dow +0.06 per cent; S&P 500 +0.16 per cent; Nasdaq: +0.20 per cent; TSX 60 +0.22 per cent

Equities
Japan's Nikkei -0.34 per cent
Shanghai composite index +0.33 per cent
Hong Kong's Hang Seng +0.37 per cent 
Germany's DAX +0.02 per cent
London's FTSE -0.15 per cent
France's CAC 40 +0.26 per cent

Commodities
WTI crude oil (Nymex April) +0.86 per cent at $49.33 (U.S.) a barrel
Gold (Comex April) -0.06 per cent at $1,233.30 (U.S.) an ounce
Copper (Comex May) -0.92 per cent at $2.6425 (U.S.) a pound

Currencies
Canadian dollar +0.30 at 75.26 cents (U.S.)
U.S. dollar index -0.50 per cent at 99.86

Bonds
Canada 10-year bond yield -0.17 at 1.74 per cent

KEY ECONOMIC RELEASES

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Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Indexes are released across the globe, including in the U.S. France also releases fourth-quarter GDP numbers.

(830 a.m. ET) Canada releases retail sales for January. Consensus expectations are for a rise of 1.1 per cent from the previous month, or 1.2 per cent when excluding autos.

(830 a.m. ET) U.S. releases current account for the fourth quarter. Consensus is for a deficit of $128.6-billion.

KEY STOCKS TO WATCH

Earnings include: Canadian Solar Inc., FedEx Corp., General Mills Inc., HB Fuller Co., Lennar Corp., RMP Energy Inc., and Silver Wheaton Corp.

Also see: Tuesday's small-cap stocks to watch

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Apple Inc. unveiled an updated version of its iPad tablet on Tuesday, starting at $329 (U.S.) and available to order from Friday. Apple also said its smaller iPhone SE model will be available in 32 and 128 gigabyte (GB) versions, replacing the 16 GB and 64 GB models.

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General Mills Inc. reported its seventh straight quarterly sales decline on Tuesday, hurt by weak demand for its yogurt and baking products, as the company discounted less amid pricing competition in the United States. The maker of Cheerios breakfast cereal said net sales fell 5.2 per cent to $3.79-billion in the third quarter ended Feb. 26, falling short of analysts' average estimate of $3.82 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

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Dow-component Nike, which is due to report quarterly results after markets close, edged up 0.12 per cent to $58.75.

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Marriott International Inc. said on Tuesday it planned to add up to 300,000 rooms worldwide by 2019, as part of a three-year growth plan, ahead of the No. 1 hotel chain's investor day. The owner of Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis luxury hotel brands said it would earn $675-million in stabilized fees from hotel rooms added to its system.

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Marathon Oil Corp. agreed to buy about 21,000 acres mostly in the oil-rich Permian's Northern Delaware basin for $700-million (U.S.) in cash, adding to shale holdings in the area it acquired earlier this month. The Permian acreage, largely in New Mexico, was purchased from closely held Black Mountain Oil & Gas LLC and other sellers, Marathon said Tuesday in a statement. The Houston-based explorer and producer will now hold about 91,000 acres in the Permian basin after selling oil-sands assets in Alberta for $2.5-billion.

**

With files from wire services

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