Canada's resource heavy main stock index dipped a bit at the outset on Tuesday, as commodities slipped on weaker Chinese import data, raising concerns about the impact of slowing demand on a fragile global economy.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index opened lower by 11.45 points to 12,007.05
The Canadian dollar listed lower by 0.24 cents to 100.02 cents U.S.
Among stocks to watch this morning, Augusta Resource Corp. said it received a key environment permit for its fully-owned Rosemont copper project in Arizona.
Rio Verde Minerals Development Corp. said it got a trial mining permit for its Fosfatar phosphate project in Brazil.
Oil and natural gas whiz Vero Energy Inc. raised its 2012 production forecast as output from the Cardium assets in Alberta increased in the first quarter, helped along by higher number of wells drilled.
The TSX Venture Exchange fell 2.06 points to 1,446.59, while the Nasdaq Canada index regained 2.07 points to 400.85
Eight of the 14 Toronto subgroups began the day on an up note. Metals and mining sprinted out 1.7%, while information technology clicked 0.7% and materials improved 0.6%.
The half-dozen laggards were weighed mostly by industrials, tailing off 0.4%, while telecoms lost 0.3%, and energy stocks were 0.2% to the bad.
In New York, stocks traded mixed Tuesday, as investors prepare to shift their focus to the latest round of corporate results.
The Dow Jones Industrials erased 60.62 points, to start things off at 12,869.
The S&P 500 deducted 2.34 points to 1,379.86, and the Nasdaq reversed 5.51 points to close at 3,040.57.
Many expect a quiet trading day ahead of first-quarter financial results, which kick off Tuesday. Dow component Alcoa is on tap to report after the closing bell, the first of a slew of results due in the next few weeks.
Analysts are forecasting a 0.1% drop in first-quarter earnings for companies in the S&P 500 compared to a year earlier, according to FactSet. While that's not exactly a major decline, it would mark the end of a nine-quarter winning streak.
Stocks were on a tear in the first three months of this year, with the Dow and S&P 500 enjoying their best first quarter in over a decade. But barring some big surprises to the upside in corporate earnings, one expert said the market was "due for a pullback" in the next few weeks.
Shares of electronics retailer Best Buy surged after the company announced that its chief executive officer Brian Dunn resigned, and the company would kickoff a search for a new CEO.
Aluminum producer Alcoa on deck to post first-quarter financial results after the market closes. Worries about the materials sector are looming amid growing fears about a slowdown in China.
Analysts are predicting a 14.5% drop in earnings for this sector, according to FactSet.
Sony shares dropped after the electronics maker announced it expects an annual loss of more than double its previous projection. The company said the revision came after recording additional tax expenses, primarily in the United States.
Shares of AIG were up 2% while Dell edged up 2% following analyst upgrades.
Shares of grocery retailer Supervalu were up 13%, after the company reported earnings that beat expectations and offered strong guidance.
Economically speaking, a report on wholesale inventories is due shortly after the market opens on Tuesday. Inventories are forecast to have risen 0.5% in February, following a 0.4% uptick in January.
On Monday, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said in a speech in Georgia that banks need to increase their capital buffers in order to ensure stability in the financial system.
The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury progressed, driving yields down to 2.02% from Monday's 2.04%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil for May delivery grew 42 cents to $102.88 U.S. a barrel.
Gold futures for April delivery rose $1.70 to $1,645.60 U.S. an ounce.