June 7 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index looked set to open higher on Thursday, on investor hopes U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke could hint at more monetary stimulus and after the Chinese central bank cut benchmark deposit and lending rates.
* China’s central bank cut benchmark interest rates by 25 basis points in a surprise move to shore up slackening economic growth, its first rate cut since the depths of the 2008/09 financial crisis.
* Spain showed that it can still access the credit markets at an affordable but rising cost against a backdrop of feverish behind-the-scenes planning for a likely European rescue of its debt-stricken banks.
* The Federal Reserve’s second-highest official on Wednesday laid out the case for the U.S. central bank to provide more support to a fragile economy as financial turmoil in Europe mounts.
* Yogawear retailer Lululemon Athletica Inc : reported higher first-quarter profit, but said growth in same-store sales would slow, sending its shares down in premarket trading.
* Fertilizer producer and retailer Agrium Inc : more than doubled its semi-annual dividend to 50 cents per share.
* Canada stock futures traded up 0.53 percent
* U.S. stock futures , , were up around 0.5 percent to 0.8 percent
* European shares, were up
* Thomson Reuters-Jeffries CRB Index : 275.51; was up 0.64 percent
* Gold Futures : $1,626.3; fell -0.4 percent
* US Crude : $86.25; rose 1.45 percent
* Brent Crude : $101.82; rose 1.17 percent
* LME 3-month Copper : $7,486.75; rose 1.04 percent
* Sandvine Corp. : The network equipment maker estimated smaller-than-expected revenue for the second quarter as several large projects were delayed.
* Viterra Inc. : Australia’s competition regulator approved a friendly takeover bid by Swiss commodities trader Glencore International Plc of Viterra, clearing another hurdle for the biggest deal in years in the global agricultural sector.
* Enbridge Inc. : The pipeline operator shut down a key supply line for Canadian crude shipments to U.S. refineries on Wednesday but said the outage was expected to be short in duration and have little impact on deliveries.
* Harry Winston Diamond Corp. : The luxury jeweler and watchmaker’s quarterly profit more than tripled as it sold more rough diamonds, and the company said it expects global demand for luxury jewelry and watches to rise.
* Air Canada : The carrier said on Wednesday that its COO will take early retirement this fall, as the country’s largest airline pursues plans to launch a low-cost carrier.
* Barrick Gold : The gold miner’s surprising ouster of CEO Aaron Regent on Wednesday raised more questions than it answered for anxious investors, who are left wondering why the world’s top gold miner would axe its CEO just a month after singing his praises.
* Husky Energy Inc. : Negotiators for the oil producer and the United Steelworkers union met on Wednesday without reaching an agreement to end a 13-day strike at the company’s 155,000 barrel per day Lima, Ohio, refinery.
* North American Energy Partners Inc. : The mining services company reported a narrower quarterly loss as its piling segment benefited from robust demand due to recovery in commercial and industrial construction markets.
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters.
* AGF Management : Canaccord Genuity raises to buy from hold, after the company said it would use the proceeds from the sale of its trust mainly for strategic acquisitions.
* Kinross Gold : National Bank Financial cuts price target to C$14 from C$15, citing higher costs at its Cerro Casale project in Chile and lower grades at its Tasiast gold mine in Mauritania , rating outperform.
* Laurentian Bank : Canaccord Genuity cuts price target to C$52.50 from C$54.50 on valuation and to reflect acquisition of AGF Trust, rating buy.
* Major Drilling Group : CIBC and RBC cuts target price citing management’s cautious outlook, rating outperform.
* Nexen : National Bank Financial starts with outperform on valuation.
* Major Canadian economic data includes Ivey’s Purchasing Managers Index
* Major U.S. events and data includes Initial Jobless claims, consumer credit and ICSC retail sales