February 8, 2012 / 1:47 PM / 5 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX set to open higher, Greek hopes help sentiment

5 Min Read

Feb 8 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index looked set to open higher on Wednesday, on hopes that an agreement on a second Greek bailout was close and an improving global economic outlook.

Greek leaders are due to meet later to agree a deal on painful austerity steps needed to secure a 130 billion euro ($172 billion) rescue from the IMF and European Union and avoid a potentially chaotic debt default.

Factors to Watch

* Canadian equity futures <0#SXF:> pointed to a higher open.

* U.S. stock index futures edged higher as leaders in Greece again attempted to reach a deal on reforms in exchange for a new bailout.

* European shares hit a new six-month high, with cyclical stocks extending a strong run as investors became more confident that economic growth would boost company earnings, and eclipse concerns about Greece. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ To receive an early e-mail of Reuters Morning News Call - Canada -- a preview of market moving news -- Thomson Reuters subscribers can register at ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Commodity Price Moves

* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, a global commodities benchmark, rose 0.24 percent in early trade.

* Brent crude oil rose to six-month highs, propelled by falling inventories in the United States, optimism of a deal to bail out Greece and tension between Iran and the West.

* Gold held steady, fairly close to recent 11 week highs and taking a cue from the euro's run to a two month peak as investors bet that Greece would finally secure a second bailout needed to avoid default.

* Copper prices surged to their highest levels in more than a week, lifted by a stronger euro and optimism Greece will be able to secure a bailout package aimed at averting a disorderly default.

Canadian Stocks to Watch

* Agrium Inc. : The company reported a 43 percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit, as higher crop prices led to stronger pricing and demand for agricultural inputs from both its retail and wholesale businesses.

* TMX Group : The exchange operator reported a 21 percent fall in quarterly profit on lower revenue from issuer services and cash markets trading.

* WestJet Airlines Ltd : The airliner reported stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings and said its employees had endorsed its plan to start a regional carrier using turboprop aircraft to serve smaller markets.

* ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc. : The company's quarterly profit rose more than six fold helped by a strong growth in its transportation business.

* Bombardier Inc. : The plane maker flatly denied a media report that it could sell a stake in its commercial aviation unit to the state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corp of China.

* Goldcorp : Canadian securities regulators on Tuesday implicated mining executive Ian Telfer, who currently serves as chairman of Goldcorp, in an alleged insider trading scheme, saying he helped the main defendant in the case disguise her illegal trading activities.

* Maple Leaf Foods Inc. : The meat packer and baker said it will shut its further-processed poultry plant in Ayr, Ontario and merge the operations into its Brantford and Mississauga facilities there, resulting in a loss of 100 jobs.

* Research In Motion : Next-generation software for BlackBerry's smartphones is "ready to compete", RIM's new CEO, Thorsten Heins, told more than 2,000 technical developers on Tuesday, expressing confidence in RIM's long-term future.

Separately, Halliburton plans to stop issuing BlackBerry smartphones to employees and switch over to Apple's iPhone, which it said was better suited to its needs, marking another setback for the BlackBerry maker.

* Vitran Corp. : The trucking company posted a loss for the fifth straight quarter, hurt by higher costs and weakness in its U.S. less-than-truckload business.

Analyst Recommendations

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

* Flint Energy Services Ltd : CIBC cuts to sector performer from sector outperformer

* Nevsun Resources Ltd : CIBC cuts to sector underperformer from sector performer

* Saputo Inc : CIBC raises price target to C$46 from C$45

* Trican Well Service Ltd : CIBC cuts to sector performer from sector outperformer; CIBC cuts price target to C$21 from C$27.50

$1= $0.99 Canadian Reporting by Kishan Nair; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson

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