February 15, 2012 / 1:47 PM / 6 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX set to open higher on China comments, data

Feb 15 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index looked set to open higher on Wednesday, helped by solid U.S. economic data and reassurance from Chinese authorities that the nation will keep investing in debt issued by euro-zone governments.

FACTORS TO WATCH

* Canadian equity futures pointed to a higher open.

* U.S. stock index futures rose, buoyed by comments from China’s central bank chief that the country would keep investing in euro zone debt and better-than-expected data from Germany and France. Futures added to gains after the release of stronger-than-expected New York Fed Empire State manufacturing index data.

* European shares extended gains to fresh six-month highs in afternoon trade after Greece’s Conservative Party said its leader had sent a letter of commitment to austerity measures to the Eurogroup.

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, a global commodities benchmark, rose 0.36 percent in early trade.

* Oil rose to $118 a barrel as real and threatened supply disruptions outweighed concerns about the health of the global economy.

* Gold rose in Europe, influenced by a stronger euro and firmer base metals as the market leant towards its commodity-specific properties, with investors waiting for further clarity on Greece and the wider euro zone economy.

* Copper was steady as the euro strengthened following positive comments from China on the euro zone debt crisis and cautious expectations that Greece may be able to implement the tough measures needed to avert a messy default.

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Cenovus Energy Inc. : The independent oil producer said its fourth-quarter profit more than tripled, helped by substantial reserves and resources growth.

* Talisman Energy : The independent oil explorer posted a narrower fourth-quarter loss and the company said it expects underlying production growth this year to be flat to 5 percent higher.

* Air Canada : The company and its 3,000 pilots will continue labor negotiations with the help of a government-appointed mediator, even as the pilots voted overwhelmingly in favor of giving their negotiators the option to call a strike.

* CI Financial Corp. : The investment fund company said on Tuesday it has agreed to buy a minority stake in Lawrence Park Capital Partners, a hedge fund manager focused on the fixed income market.

* Labrador Iron Mines Holdings Ltd. : The company’s quarterly loss narrowed marginally, helped mainly by a forex gain.

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Bank of Nova Scotia : CIBC ups target to C$59 from C$57; rating sector outperformer

* Canadian Western Bank : CIBC ups target to C$30 from C$29; rating sector underperformer

* Cequence Energy : Canaccord Genuity cuts price target to C$3.75 from C$4; rating buy

* Migao Corp : CIBC cuts price target to C$4.25 from C$5; rating sector performer

* National Bank of Canada : CIBC ups target to C$80 from C$75; rating sector performer

* RBC : CIBC raises target price to C$59 from C$54, sector performer rating

* TD Bank : CIBC raises target price to C$88 from C$84, sector outperformer rating

* Teck Resources : Canaccord Genuity cuts price target to C$46 from C$48; rating buy

* TransCanada : CIBC cuts price target to C$46 from C$46.50

* Trican Well Service : RBC cuts to sector perform from outperform; RBC cuts price target to C$22 from C$26

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