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Updated: Wed, 17 Sep 2014 08:57:01 GMT | By The Canadian Press, thecanadianpress.com

Toronto stock market to open little changed

TORONTO - The Toronto stock market looked set to open flat on Wednesday, as traders wait for news from the U.S. Federal Reserve to see if there are any plans to raise interest rates before the middle of next year.


Toronto stock market to open little changed

The Toronto Stock Exchange Broadcast Centre is shown in Toronto on June 28, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim

TORONTO - The Toronto stock market looked set to open flat on Wednesday, as traders wait for news from the U.S. Federal Reserve to see if there are any plans to raise interest rates before the middle of next year.

The Canadian dollar was up 0.01 of a cent to 91.17 cents US.

U.S. futures were tepid with the Dow Jones industrial futures losing two points to 17,052, the Nasdaq futures dropping 5.5 points to 4,067.27, with the S&P 500 futures slipping 0.75 of a point to 1,998.98.

Markets are waiting for the Fed's announcement Wednesday afternoon on whether it will signal that interest rates will go up sooner than the middle of next year. For some time, the Fed has reassured markets that rates will stay where they are for a "considerable time.'' Traders will look to see if the Fed drops those two words and takes a more hawkish tone on rates.

The other major event that traders are watching is Thursday's Scottish referendum on independence. Polls show the yes and no camps neck and neck, with undecided voters expected to decide the outcome of the vote.

Meanwhile, the Bank of Canada said it will continue its hands-off approach on influencing the Canadian dollar, saying the markets determine the level of the loonie. Governor Stephen Poloz said Tuesday that targeting the exchange rate will do more harm than good and would see the bank lose its ability to pursue an independent monetary policy.

U.S. Steel Canada has filed for court-supervised protection to give it a chance to restructure to better compete in the North American steel industry. The former Stelco Inc, which U.S. Steel bought in 2007, has recorded operating losses in the last five years for about $2.4 billion, the company and its parent, U.S. Steel, said in statements after markets closed on Tuesday.

The company has obtained a court order from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for creditor protection under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act. Under the CCAA process, U.S. Steel Canada will carry on business as usual while it restructures.

The Manitoba government says more than 370 permanent jobs will be created by the opening of two new mines by Hudbay Minerals (TSX:HBM) in northern Manitoba. The Lalor mine, located 13 kilometres west of Snow Lake, contains gold, zinc, copper and silver. The Reed copper mine, near Snow Lake, Man., is a joint venture of Hudbay and VMS Ventures Inc.

In corporate developments, Sony expects its annual loss to rise to $2 billion and has cancelled dividends for the first time in more than half a century after writing down the value of its troubled smartphone business. Sony has cited intense competition, especially from Chinese rivals. For the first time since going public in 1958, the Japanese electronics and entertainment conglomerate cancelled dividend payments for the half- and full-year.

On the commodity markets, the October crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange was down 24 cents to US$94.64 a barrel.

December bullion was down 40 cents to US$1,236.3 an ounce and December copper was down two cents to US$3.13 a pound.

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