September 4, 2012 / 12:32 PM / in 5 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open higher on central bank hopes

Sep 4 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index looked set to open higher after a long holiday weekend, helped by optimism that the U.S. Federal Reserve and European Central Bank will soon take action to stimulate their struggling economies.

TOP STORIES

* Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc agreed on Monday to buy Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp for $2.6 billion in cash, in a deal that will add Botox competitor Dysport and other skin care drugs to its portfolio.

* Purchases of short term sovereign bonds by the European Central bank would not breach European Union rules, the ECB’s President Mario Draghi told European lawmakers on Monday, according to a recording obtained by Reuters.

* Cenovus Energy Inc said it started producing oil from the fourth phase of its Christina Lake oil sands project in Alberta about three months ahead of schedule. * The Swiss economy unexpectedly shrank in the second quarter as the euro zone crisis caught up with a country that had seemed relatively immune to its neighbors’ woes, providing further justification for the central bank’s cap on the strong franc.

* German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told his Greek counterpart Yannis Stournaras at meeting on Tuesday that Athens must fully implement promised reforms in order to receive further aid from its international lenders.

MARKET SNAPSHOT

* Canada stock futures traded up 0.09 percent

* U.S. stock futures , , were down around 0.02 percent

* European shares, were down

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 310.52; was up 0.3 percent

* Gold futures : $1,693.3; rose 0.52 percent

* US crude : $96.96; rose 0.51 percent

* Brent crude : $116.1; rose 0.28 percent

* LME 3-month copper : $7,658.5; fell 0.27 percent

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Canaccord Financial : The bank has hired former Lazard and Lehman Brothers dealmaker Alexis de Rosnay to run its European unit, a business it has been building up while bigger rivals have scaled back their ambitions in the downturn.

* Athabasca Oil Corp. : Kuwait Petroleum Corporation said late on Friday it had not signed a deal in Canada after reports it had completed a preliminary agreement with the company to develop the Alberta oil sands.

* Labrador Iron Mines Holdings Ltd. : The miner said it lowered its exploration budget for the year as a decline in iron ore prices forces it to cut costs.

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters.

* Bonterra Energy : NBF starts with sector perform rating; price target of C$44, says the company represents a strong resource oil yield investment, with solid asset exposure, capital efficiencies and returns to drive dividend growth

* Drillers: CIBC cuts Orbit Garant Drilling Inc price target to C$4.50 from C$5.50 and Foraco International SA to C$5 from C$6.75 to reflect potential downside risk

* National Bank of Canada : CIBC cuts price target to C$78 from C$81, citing poor earnings composition though it reported higher-than-expected results

* Rainy River Resources : RBC cuts to sector perform from outperform and cuts price target to C$7 from C$11 to reflect transitioning of the project and on relative valuation

ON THE CALENDAR

* Major U.S. events and data includes auto sales, ISM manufacturing data, final Markit Manufacturing PMI and construction spending

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