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Premarket: Markets steady but RIM, Facebook shares down

U.S. stock futures are dipping gently into the red so far this morning, suggesting a steady to slightly negative start to TSX trading at the open.

A batch of U.S. economic data to come – including weekly jobless claims and consumer spending – as well as more corporate earnings, could help set a clearer tone for market sentiment today.

But the mood overall should remain cautious, given just how well stocks have performed of late. The S&P 500 has risen 5.3 per cent this month, the strongest January performance since 1989, according to Bloomberg. The S&P 500 is now only 4 per cent below its all-time high in October 2007 and the Dow Jones industrial average is less than 2 per cent away from smashing its record.


While investors haven't been this bullish in a long while, there are still concerns about unexpected shocks that could send stocks into a retreat. A particular risk is if the U.S. economy shows more signs of losing momentum. This was highlighted Wednesday when fourth-quarter GDP stunned economists by showing a contraction. However, most the decline was blamed on one-time factors and growth is expected to return this year.

Now, here's a look at what else is going on this morning:

MARKETS:

Equities:

U.S. futures: S&P 500 -0.1 per cent; Dow -0.1 per cent; Nasdaq -0.3 per cent

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index -0.39 per cent

Shanghai composite index +0.11 per cent

Japan's Nikkei +0.23 per cent

London's FTSE 100 -0.56 per cent

Germany's DAX -0.52 per cent

France's CAC 40 -1.00 per cent

Commodities:

WTI (Nymex Mar) -0.27 per cent at $97.68 (U.S.) a barrel

Gold (Comex Apr) -0.30 per cent at $1,676.60 (U.S.) an ounce

Copper (Comex Mar) +0.05 per cent at $3.75 (U.S.) a pound

Currencies:

Canadian dollar down 0.0007, or 0.07 per cent, at $0.9975 (U.S.)

ECONOMIC INDICATORS TO WATCH:

(0830 a.m. ET) Statistics Canada reports on the gross domestic production in November. Economists expect annual growth of 1.4 per cent.

(0830 a.m. ET) Statscan reports on the raw materials price index and industiral product prices in December. Economists expect raw material prices to rise by 0.2 per cent, and industrial product prices to remain flat.

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(0830 a.m. ET) The U.S. Commerce Department reports on personal income and spending in December. Economists expect increases of 0.8 per cent and 0.3 per cent, respectively.

(0830 a.m. ET) U.S. releases new jobless claims for last week. Economists expect 350,000 new filings, up from 330,000 the prior week.

STOCKS TO WATCH:

Facebook Inc. shares are down 6 per cent in the premarket. It's been seeing volatile trade since reporting earnings late Wednesday that appeared to be better than Street expectations but kept concerns over its future growth and spending plans intact.

Research In Motion Ltd. shares are down 3 per cent in the premarket after swooning about 12 per cent on Wednesday upon the unveiling of the new BlackBerry 10 devices. Profit-taking – and disappointment the devices won't hit U.S. shelves until March – is keeping the stock under pressure.

Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. turned in a much poorer than expected fourth quarter on Thursday, the result of slumping demand across its product lines in a year when top Asian buyers held back from the market.

Colgate-Palmolive Co. reported a quarterly profit of $1.26 per share, improving from $1.21 a share.

Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. said its quarterly profit improved to 50 cents a share from 45 cents.

THIS MORNING'S TOP INVESTING READS ON THE WEB:

David Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff highlights four signs of investor complacency as the equity market soars to new highs on a near daily basi

Why Amazon's stock is soaring while Apple's is cratering.

A breakdown in small caps suggests the Dow Jones industrial average may not make it to 14,000 anytime soon.

A fund managers' survey finds risk taking has moved to extremely high levels.

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Why caution is warranted in hearing about this month's great rotation into stocks.

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The premarket report is constantly updated to reflect the latest news developments and market moves. For instant headlines on breaking economic and corporate news in the premarket, follow Darcy Keith on Twitter at @eyeonequities

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About the Author
Investment Editor

Darcy Keith is The Globe and Mail's Investment Editor. He has been a business journalist since 1992 and joined the Report on Business in 2010 from Yahoo! Canada, where he was the senior editor of finance. More

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