The Toronto stock market headed for a negative open Wednesday as commodity prices retraced some of the strong gains from the previous session and traders also took in some major deal making.
Canada's largest convenience store chain, Quebec-based Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., has offered to purchase Scandinavian convenience and fuel retailer Statoil Fuel and Retail for $2.8 billion. Statoil Fuel & Retail is the top Scandinavian convenience and fuel retailer with about 2,300 full-service or automated stations.
Meanwhile, Illinois-based SXC Health Solutions Corp. is paying $4.4 billion U.S. in cash and stock to acquire Catalyst Health Solutions, Inc. in a friendly deal between the two payment processing companies. SXCs headquarters is in Lisle, Ill., but it has multiple locations in the United States and Canada.
In other corporate news, grocer Metro Inc. said second-quarter profit rose to $96.1 million or 94 cents per share, up 12% from a year ago and two cents better than expectations. Sales improved 4% to about $2.65 billion.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index ended Tuesday ahead 99.35 points to 12,136.94
The TSX Venture Exchange dipped 10.15 points to 1,422.30, while the Nasdaq Canada index added 5.08 points to 406.62
The Canadian dollar was up 0.40 of a cent to 100.46 cents U.S., back above parity with its American neighbour.
U.S. index futures were down with about 30 minutes before markets open, suggesting that stocks will fall at the start of trading. Futures for the Dow Jones industrial average were down 35 points, or 0.3%, to 12,989. Futures for the broader S&P 500 were down 4.40 points, or 0.3%, to 1,379.20, while futures for the Nasdaq were off 4.50 points, or 0.2%, to 2,708.25.
In Europe, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 was down 0.5% and Germany's DAX index was down 0.9% in afternoon trading. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 2.1% in overnight trading
Meanwhile, commodities retreated slightly. Crude oil fell to $104.11 U.S. a barrel, down 0.1%.
Gold fell to $1,646 U.S. an ounce, down 0.3%