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S&P/TSX Composite Index Set to Open Flat Despite Emerging Market Contagion

Canadian equities are set for a flat open on Thursday following the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision to reduce its stimulus program yesterday and continued turmoil in emerging markets.

As of 6:00 a.m. Eastern time, futures for the S&P/TSX Composite Index (^OSPTX) were trading marginally lower. Markets are also set for a flat open in the United States. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average are trading up 21 points, or 0.31%.

Investors are still digesting the Federal Reserve announcement it would continue to reduce its monetary stimulus program by another $10 billion on Wednesday, bringing the amount of its monthly asset purchases down to $65 billion.

Canadian and American equity indices were off sharply following the Fed’s decision. European and Asian stocks also suffered large losses on Thursday following the move.

Investors are also worried about deteriorating financial conditions in emerging markets. Rate hikes from the central banks of South Africa, India, and Turkey have failed to curb the exodus of capital from their respective economies.

It’s also expected to be a busy day on the corporate front.

Goldcorp’s (TSX:G, NYSE:GG) proposed takeover of Osisko Mining (TSX:OSK) has taken a nasty turn. Late Wednesday afternoon, Osisko announced that it has started legal action against Goldcorp, accusing the mining giant of misusing confidential information when it launched its US$2.5 billion cash-and-stock hostile takeover earlier this month.

“Goldcorp misused confidential information and otherwise acted in a manner not permitted by the confidentiality agreement between the parties,” Osisko said in a press release. The company also alleges Goldcorp had acted in “bad faith” before launching its hostile bid.

It’s clear Osisko is not going down without a fight. Shares of the gold miner are currently trading at a 10% premium to Goldcorp’s offer, suggesting that the market is anticipating a higher bid.

Investors will also have to shift through a flood of earnings reports.

Canadian National Railway (TSX:CNR, NYSE:CNI) is scheduled to post earnings after the closing bell. According to estimates compiled by Reuters, the street is looking for an EPS of $0.78 – a projected 9% increase compared to the same time period last year.

Investors will be listening for colour on the company’s crude-by-rail segment. Fears the ramped up safety regulators following a string of derailments could create a big cost burden for the company.

Imperial Oil (TSX:IMO) is also due to release its quarterly profit figures. The street is looking for an EPS figure around $0.90 – roughly a 30% decline year-over-year. Here investors will be mostly focused on progress at the company’s mammoth Kearl oil sands project which started production last year. Shareholders will also be looking for updates on phase two of Kearl’s construction.

Finally, quarterly earning reports are also due from energy and mining giants Canadian Oil Sands (TSX:COS) and Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (TSX:POT, NYSE:POT).

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Fool contributor Robert Baillieul has no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this article. 

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