The Canadian dollar moved up 0.04 of a cent to 101.72 cents US.
In Canadian earnings, Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (TSX:POT) reported disappointing results, with first-quarter sales and profit down even more than analysts expected from the record-high results it had last year.
Canada's largest fertilizer company said net income fell to US$491 million or 56 cents per share in the first three months of 2012, down from US$732 million or 84 cents per share in the first quarter of 2011.
Domtar Corp. (TSX:UFS) said its first-quarter profit fell sharply from the same time last year, missing analyst estimates, as it felt the impact of lower global prices for pulp and higher costs. The Montreal-based company posted net income or 76 cents per share. That's down from US$133 million or $3.14 per share in the comparable period of 2011.
Oil prices were lower with the May crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange off 19 cents to US$103.93 a barrel.
Bullion prices dipped $12.10 to US$1,654.40 an ounce.
Copper prices headed higher up four cents to US$3.74 a pound.
Wall Street was poised for modest falls at the open following a solid performance so far this week.
The Dow Jones industrial futures backtracked 13 points to 13,027, the Nasdaq futures were down 6.75 points to 2,697.75 and the S&P 500 futures were off 3.7 points to 1,383.4.
The focus in the U.S. will remain on the quarterly corporate earnings season, with Coca-Cola, PepsiCo., Starbucks and ExxonMobil among the raft of companies reporting.
Weekly jobless claims as well as the Chicago Fed's survey of industry will also garner some interest from traders as they assess the state of the U.S. economic recovery, a day after the Fed said U.S. economic growth would pick up gradually and that it would stick with its plan to keep its key short-term interest rate near zero per cent.
In Europe, the rebound of earlier this week ground to a halt amid further evidence of a sharp slowdown in the economy of the 17 countries that use the euro.
A survey from the European Commission showing economic sentiment in the eurozone down more than expected in April added to the gloom. Its main indicator fell from 94.5 to 92.8_ the consensus in the markets was for a far more modest decline to 94.
In recent weeks, there has been an increasing backlash against the austerity drive in many European countries amid worries that governments will be unable to deliver their debt-reduction plans as their economies tank.
Those concerns weighed heavy on Europe's main markets as well as the euro, which was trading 0.1 per cent lower at $1.3215.
Germany's DAX was down 0.5 per cent at 6,670 while the CAC-40 in France fell 0.7 per cent to 5,725. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares outperformed its peers, though that was largely due to its big underperformance the previous day when official figures showed the country in recession – it was 0.1 per cent higher at 5,724.
Earlier in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 index closed slightly ahead at 9,561.83 as traders proceeded with caution ahead of the Bank of Japan's policy-setting meeting Friday.
South Korea's Kospi also zigzagged until finally setting 0.1 per cent higher at 1,964.04. Hong Kong's Hang Seng posted a 0.8 per cent gain to 20,809.71. In mainland China, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index edged 0.1 per cent lower to 2,404.70.