April 23, 2012 / 12:32 PM / 5 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open lower as euro zone tensions weigh

April 23 (Reuters) - Canada’s resource heavy main stock index looked set to open lower on Monday, with commodity prices falling as political tension in France and the Netherlands raised concerns over euro zone’s commitment to tackle its ongoing debt crisis.

Weak economic data from Germany and China weighed further on the sentiment.

TOP STORIES

* The euro zone’s business slump deepened at a far faster pace than expected in April, suggesting the economy will stay in recession at least until the second half of the year.

* The gloomier view came as the Dutch government, a close ally to Germany in calling for tougher austerity measures to fight the crisis, was preparing to resign because of a crisis over budget cuts, according to two broadcasters.

* Investors were also absorbing the implications of the victory in the first round of France’s presidential poll of the Socialist Francois Hollande, who has promised to renegotiate a European budget pact.

* China’s factories stabilised in April as output ticked higher, new business rose from multi-month lows and export orders perked up, though not sufficiently for a private sector survey of purchasing managers to flag a return to expansionary territory.

* Swiss food group Nestle is to buy U.S. drugmaker Pfizer’s infant nutrition business for $11.85 billion, beating out French rival Danone in the battle for dominance of baby food in fast-growing emerging markets.

MARKET SNAPSHOT

* Canada stock futures traded down 0.90 percent

* U.S. stock futures pointed to a lower open for equities on Wall Street on Monday, with futures for the S&P 500, the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq 100 falling 0.8 to 0.9 percent.

* European shares, were down

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* Thomson Reuters-Jeffries CRB Index : 299.64; was down 0.52 percent

* Gold Futures : $1,629; fell -0.80 percent

* US Crude : $102.95; fell -0.90 percent

* Brent Crude : $117.79; fell -0.81 percent

* LME 3-month Copper : $8,026.75; fell -2.02 percent

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Royal Bank of Canada : The wealth-manager expects to double the number of wealth management employees in its Dubai office in the near future, and is open to opportunities for acquisitions, a senior executive said on Sunday.

* Jean Coutu Group Inc. : The drugstore chain said on Friday it sold 56 million shares of the 234.4 million it held in Rite Aid Corp, or nearly a quarter of its stake at an average price of $1.51 per share.

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* ATS Automation : CIBC downgrades to sector underperformer from sector performer

* Boralex : CIBC cuts price target to C$10.50 from C$12

* Brookfield Renewable Energy : CIBC raises price target to C$28 from C$26.75

* Canadian Pacific Railway : Canaccord Genuity raises price target to C$92 from C$89; Jefferies raises price target to C$79 from C$72

* Great West Lifeco Inc. : National Bank Financial raises to outperform; NBF says co is top pick in Canadian life insurance sector

* Innergex Renewable : CIBC downgrades to sector performer from sector outperformer

* Northland Power : CIBC raises price target to C$17.50 from C$16.50

* Westport Innovations : CIBC raises to sector performer from sector underperformer

ON THE CALENDAR

* Major Canadian economic data includes wholesale trade

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