March 26, 2012 / 12:17 PM / 5 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open higher, U.S. data eyed

March 26 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index looked set to open higher on Monday ahead of U.S. housing data that could offer more evidence of a rebound in the the economy of Caanda's biggest trade partner.

FACTORS TO WATCH

* Canadian equity futures pointed to a higher open.

* U.S. stock index futures rose, pointing to an equities rebound after the S&P's worst weekly performance so far this year as investors looked ahead to February pending home sales data.

* European shares were flat in a choppy session as falls in Spain on concerns about a government setback in regional elections offset a strong German economic survey.

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, a global commodities benchmark, rose 0.22 percent in early trade.

* Oil prices were steady at around $125 per barrel, pausing after a rally of around 1.5 percent the previous session as renewed worries about the financial stability of the eurozone returned to the fore.

* Gold held near $1,660 an ounce in Europe, taking a breather after recording its first weekly rise in four last week as weakness in the euro weighed on prices and other commodities like crude oil eased a touch.

* Copper fell as investors traded cautiously ahead of key data this week, weighing up signs of improved demand in the U.S., the world's largest economy, against lacklustre demand growth in top consumer China.

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* SNC-Lavalin Group Inc : The engineering and construction company reported fourth-quarter results and said its CEO Pierre Duhaime resigned after it had identified material weaknesses in its internal control over financial reporting.

* Viterra <VT.TO >: Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Sunday that the structure of Glencore's C$6.1 billion deal to buy the grain handler means it should not necessarily be seen as a full foreign takeover.

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Air Canada : CIBC raises to sector outperformer from sector performer

* Conifex Timber : CIBC starts with sector outperformer; price target C$12.25

* Industrielle Alliance Assurance : Canaccord ups target to C$31 from C$28

* NAL Energy Corp. : National Bank Financial raises price target to C$8.50 from C$8

* Pengrowth Energy : RBC cuts price target to C$10 from C$12, rating sector perform

* Sun Life Financial : Canaccord raises price target to C$25 from C$23, rating hold

* Western Forest Products : CIBC starts with sector outperformer, target C$1.55

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