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Greek president Karolos Papoulias has announced the country will hold new elections after politicians failed to reach agreement on a coalition government to run the country. The vote is already being considered a referendum on whether the country should remain in the euro zone and investors are concerned that political gridlock will put international aide at risk.

The risk of economic turmoil in Europe weighed on Asian stocks. In North America, investors are looking ahead to the latest industrial output data. Stock market futures in New York were up almost 0.2 per cent 90 minutes before the opening bell, but in Toronto they were down a small fraction.

Markets:

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China's Hang Seng index down 3.2 per cent

Japan's Nikkei 225 index down 1.1 per cent

London's FTSE 100 index down 0.65 per cent

France's CAC 40 index up 0.52 per cent

Germany's DAX index down 0.52 per cent

Spain's IBEX 35 index down 0.2 per cent



Commodities:

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Oil down $1.59 (U.S.) to $92.39 a barrel

Gold down 0.5 per cent to $1,536.57 an ounce

Copper down 1.5 per cent to $3.465 a pound



Canadian dollar down 0.1 per cent to 99.19 cents (U.S.).



Economic data:

(Eastern times)

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8:30 a.m. U.S. housing starts for April expected to rise 4.7 per cent from March

Update: The Commerce Department reported a 2.6 percent increase from March's upwardly revised annual rate of 699,000 housing starts, to 717,000 starts. The figure beat economists' consensus estimate for April of 685,000 starts.

9:15 a.m. Industrial production for April expected to increase by 0.6 per cent

10:30 a.m. EIA petroleum inventories

2:00 a.m. Minutes of the last meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee



Stocks to watch:

J.C. Penney & Co. late Tuesday posted a first-quarter loss and said sales fell more than expected.

BHP Billiton Ltd. will scale back its plan to spend $80-billion over five years in light of global economic volatility.

Deere & Co. and Target Corp. reporting quarterly results.

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