TORONTO – The Toronto stock market appears headed for a choppy session with U.S. futures pointing to gains but commodity prices still weak amid a general economic slowdown outside of the United States.

The Canadian dollar is at 85.63 cents US, down more than half a cent from the pre-holiday close at 86.2 cents US

U.S. futures were looking positive with the Dow Jones industrial futures up 66 points at 17,818, the Nasdaq futures ahead 15 points at 4,247.80, and the S&P futures up 6.7 points at 2,059.1.

In overseas markets, the FTSE 100 was down 14.60 points at 6,551.49, the DAX was down 79.24 at 9,726.31 and the CAC 40 was down 21.51 at 4,251.24. In Asia, the Shanghai market gained 68.86 points to close at 3,234.68, the Nikkei 225 dropped 279.07 points or 1.57 per cent to 17,450.77 and the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong closed up 252.78 points or 1.1 per cent to 23,857.82.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed the trading year on Wednesday at 14,632.44, meaning the TSX ended 2014 with a gain of seven per cent, down from a gain of almost 10 per cent in 2013.

Hyundai Motor Co. and its affiliate Kia Motors Corp. are forecasting 2015 will show the weakest growth in yearly car sales in more than a decade as competition intensifies and the global economy slows. Hyundai Motor Group, the world’s fifth largest automaker, said Friday the two carmakers aim to sell a combined 8.2 million vehicles this year.

Barrick Gold (TSX:ABX) disclosed Wednesday that Chile’s Supreme Court won’t consider an appeal of a lower court decision that the Toronto-based company had sought. As a result of the top court’s decision, Chile’s environmental regulator will re-evalute administrative fines it emplosed on Barrick’s Pascua-Lama project, which has been suspended amid environmental and local community concerns about the impact.

In economic news, the Institute for Supply Management provides insight into the U.S. manufacturing sector with the morning release of its purchasing managers’ index. Estimates project the December PMI at 57.6, which would be lower than the November reading of 58.7 but still indicating growth in the sector. A Canadian manaufacturing PMI will be published by RBC.

On the commodity markets, the February crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange is up 15 cents at $ 53.42 a barrel.

February bullion fell $ 1.60 at US$ 1,182.50 an ounce, while March copper was unchanged at US$ 2.83 a pound.