China data buoys markets

Canada's main stock index looked set to open higher on Wednesday, taking cues from global markets, as remarks from Chinese Communist Party chief Xi Jinping raised hopes for stable growth in the world's second-largest economy.

The S&P/TSX composite index fell 32.56 points to 12,137.18, with futures trading up this morning 0.5%.

The Canadian dollar took on one-tenth of a cent to 100.81 cents U.S. Wednesday morning.

China will maintain its fine-tuning of economic policies in 2013 to ensure stable economic growth, state television quoted Chinese Communist Party chief Xi Jinping as saying.

A consortium led by Canadian private equity firm KingSett Capital said it plans to make an offer to acquire Primaris Retail Real Estate Investment Trust in a deal valued at about $4.4 billion.

Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd said it would cut 4,500 jobs by 2016 as part of a drive by its new CEO to slash costs and improve its operating efficiency, now the industry's worst.

B&A Mineração SA, the mining venture co-founded by former Vale SA CEO Agnelli and investment bank BTG Pactual Group, has offered to buy Rio Verde Minerals Development Corp, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation.


The TSX Venture Exchange shed 15.25 points to 1,192.75.


U.S. stock futures were in positive territory ahead of the open, after finishing slightly in the red Tuesday as uncertainty over the ongoing political wrangling put investors on edge.

The Dow Jones Industrials futures gained 53 points, or 0.4%, to 12,986, while S&P 500 futures picked up 3.5 points, or 0.3%, to 1,409, and futures for the tech-rich Nasdaq advanced 2.25 points, or 0.1%, to 2,666.75

Ahead of the market open, payroll processor ADP reported that U.S. private-sector employers added 118,000 jobs in November. That was slightly worse than expected, and smaller than the gain of 157,000 jobs in the previous month.

Investors will be keeping close tabs on the labor market ahead of the government's monthly jobs report due Friday.

Data on factory orders for October is due from the Census Bureau after the opening bell.

European markets posted solid gains in morning trading, while Asian markets had a banner day, with indices in Shanghai and Hong Kong adding more than 2%. Shares in Ping An were up after HSBC announced the sale of its stake in the Chinese insurer.

Oil prices picked up 20 cents to $88.70 U.S. a barrel

Gold prices gained six dollars to $1,701.80 U.S. an ounce.