March 7, 2018 / 12:58 PM / 9 months ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX futures dip on U.S. protectionism worries

March 7 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index futures fell on Wednesday after White House economic adviser Gary Cohn resigned, stoking fears President Donald Trump would go ahead with tariffs.

Cohn, the top economic adviser to Trump and a voice for Wall Street in the White House, said on Tuesday he would resign, a move that came after he lost a fight over Trump's plans for hefty steel and aluminum import tariffs.

Investors suspect protectionist forces in the White House favor using a lower dollar to enhance U.S. export competitiveness while making imports more expensive.

March futures on the S&P TSX index were down 0.34 percent at 7:15 a.m. ET.

The Bank of Canada is scheduled to make its next interest rate announcement, and expectations are that the central bank will keep interest rates steady at 1.25 percent, after having raised it in January. The data is expected at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Statistics Canada's trade report is expected at 8:30 a.m. ET that is likely to show trade deficit having narrowed to C$2.50 billion in January from C$3.19 billion in December. Fourth-quarter labor productivity rate data is also expected.

Canada's main stock index finished flat on Tuesday as gains in gold producers were offset by weakness in energy shares and as global equities markets were supported by signs North Korea is willing to hold talks with the United States.

Dow Jones Industrial Average e-mini futures were down 1.0 percent at 7:15 a.m. ET, while S&P 500 e-mini futures were down 0.73 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures were down 0.54 percent.

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TOP STORIES

The Canadian dollar is forecast to rally over the coming year, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday, as global economic strength and a broadly weaker greenback offsets smouldering investor fears of a trade war that could damage Canada's economy.

Canadian National Railway Co said on Wednesday it would invest more than C$250 million ($193 million) this year to improve its infrastructure to ease grain supply issues in Western Canada.

Canada's WestJet Airlines must change its hiring strategy for the company's new bargain carrier, Swoop, an Air Line Pilots Association executive said on Tuesday, citing a recent Canadian labor board order.

ANALYST RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS

CRH Medical Corp: TD Securities raises price target to C$3.50 from C$2.50

Trilogy International Partners Inc: TD Securities raises to "buy" from "hold"

Wajax Corp: Raymond James raises price target to C$28.50 from C$25

COMMODITIES AT 7:15 a.m. ET

Gold futures: $1,330; -0.27 pct

U.S. crude: $62.2; -0.64 pct

Brent crude: $65.37; -0.64 pct

LME 3-month copper: $6,921; -1.19 pct

U.S. ECONOMIC DATA DUE ON WEDNESDAY

0815 ADP national employment for Feb: Expected 195,000; Prior 234,000

0830 International trade mm $ for Jan: Expected -55.1 bln; Prior -53.1 bln

0830 Goods trade balance (R) for Jan: Prior -74.40 bln

0830 Labor costs Revised for Q4: Expected 2.1 pct; Prior 2.0 pct

0830 Productivity revised for Q4: Expected -0.1 pct; Prior -0.1 pct

1500 Consumer credit for Jan: Expected 17.90 bln; Prior 18.45 bln

FOR CANADIAN MARKETS NEWS, CLICK ON CODES:

TSX market report

Canadian dollar and bonds report

Reuters global stocks poll for Canada

Canadian markets directory ($1= C$1.29) (Reporting by Nandi Kaul in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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