October 15, 2012 / 12:52 PM / 5 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open higher on Spain hopes, data

Oct 15 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index looked set to open higher on Monday, helped by expectations Spain will request a bailout package, stronger-than-expected U.S. retail sales data and tame Chinese inflation.

TOP STORIES

* U.S. retail sales rose in September as Americans bought more cars and gasoline, while a gauge of consumer spending pointed to stronger-than-expected economic growth in the third quarter.

* Benign inflation in September showed China has scope to ease policy even as evidence mounts that earlier pro-growth measures are gaining traction, reducing the pressure on policymakers to act as a once-a-decade leadership transition approaches.

* A 100 billion euro aid request from Spain to its euro zone partners would shave 1.5 percent off Italy’s economic output, the finance minister in Rome was quoted as saying.

* Japanese mobile operator Softbank Corp said it will buy up to 70 percent of Sprint Nextel Corp, the third-largest U.S. carrier, for about $20.1 billion - the most a Japanese firm has spent on an overseas acquisition.

* Qatar, the second-largest investor in miner Xstrata, is looking favorably at the company’s proposed merger with commodities trader Glencore, Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani said.

MARKET SNAPSHOT

* Canada stock futures traded up 0.2 percent

* U.S. stock futures , , were up around 0.35 percent to 0.63 percent

* European shares, were up

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 306.60; fell 0.11 percent

* Gold futures : $1,745.8; fell 0.69 percent

* US crude : $92.06; rose 0.22 percent

* Brent crude : $115.34; rose 0.63 percent

* LME 3-month copper : $8,121.5; rose 0.21 percent

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Argonaut Gold Inc. : The company said it will buy Prodigy Gold Inc for about C$341 million in cash and shares, at a premium of 54 percent based on both companies’ 20-day volume-weighted average price as of Friday.

* Canadian National Railway Co. : The railroad should be able to ship twice as many carloads of crude oil in 2013 as it will this year, its chief marketing officer said on Friday.

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Brookfield Asset Management Inc. : Canaccord Genuity cuts to hold from buy to reflect a more modest total return and concerns that the company’s reputation with investors will weaken through its actions with General Growth Properties Inc.

* Base metals: CIBC cuts Mercator Minerals Ltd to sector performer from sector outperformer, raises Rio Alto Mining Ltd to sector outperformer from sector performer and cuts Thompson Creek Metals Company Inc to sector performer on lowered molybdenum price forecasts.

* Toromont Industries Ltd. : Canaccord Genuity starts with hold rating and target price of C$22.50, says citing the company’s potential EPS upside from an extended equipment cycle and/or potential acquisition and lowered guidance from major original equipment manufacturers.

* Keegan Resources Inc. : RBC cuts price target to C$4.40 from C$5 on the company’s updated resource statement.

ON THE CALENDAR

* No major Canadian economic data scheduled for release

* Major U.S. events and data includes retail sales, Empire state index and business inventories

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