Feb 28 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index was set to open little changed on Tuesday, as disappointing U.S. economic data and soft oil prices offset hopes an injection of loans from the European Central Bank would help markets.
New orders for U.S. manufactured goods fell in January by the most in three years as demand fell across the board from machinery to aircraft, suggesting the economy started the year on weaker footing than expected.
Banks will guzzle another half a trillion euros of cheap three-year loans offered by the ECB on Wednesday, according to a Reuters poll of money market traders, who said the opportunity would be the last of its kind.
* Canadian equity futures pointed to a flat open.
* U.S. stock index futures pared gains after data showed orders for long-lasting manufactured goods fell more than expected in January.
* European shares rose on anticipation that the ECB’s second round of cheap long-term loans would further ease balance sheet pressure among banks.
* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, a global commodities benchmark, fell 0.01 percent in early trade.
* Oil prices slipped towards $123 a barrel as investors worried about high prices hurting demand, but ongoing supply concerns and the expectation of further liquidity injections from the ECB helped underpin prices at elevated levels.
* Gold prices rose towards $1,775 an ounce in Europe, benefiting from gains in the euro ahead of an expected injection of cheap money from the ECB this week, which is lifting appetite for assets seen as higher risk.
* Copper prices rallied to a two-week high, as the ECB’s upcoming cash boost for banks and a retracement in crude oil prices renewed appetite for risky assets.
* Bank of Montreal : The bank reported a 34 percent rise in quarterly earnings, driven by lower losses for bad loans and its acquisition of Wisconsin lender Marshall & Ilsley last year.
* Calfrac Well Services Ltd. : The oilfield services provider’s fourth-quarter profit jumped nearly fivefold on continued drilling boom in North American oil and gas basins, and the company boosted its dividend payout for the second time in just over two months.
* SNC-Lavalin Group Inc : The engineering and construction firm said its net income for last year is expected to miss its own expectations by about 18 percent, or C$80 million, as it lost out on some projects and reported unrelated expenses on others.
* Ritchie Bros Auctioneers Inc. : The company posted a lower-than-expected fourth-quarter profit and said it continues to see competitive pressures this year as well.
* Thompson Creek Metals : The molybdenum miner posted a fourth-quarter profit, helped by a non-cash unrealized gain on common stock purchase warrants.
* BlackPearl Resources Inc. : The oil and gas company posted a quarterly profit, helped by an increase in oil prices.
* Agnico-Eagle : The gold miner, which has seen its share price tumble following setbacks at key mines, has now set more realistic targets in a move to rebuild investor confidence in the company, CEO Sean Boyd said on Monday.
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters.
* Eastern Platinum : ABSA Capital cuts to equal weight from overweight
* Gran Tierra Energy Inc. : CIBC raises price target to C$7.15 from C$6.90
* Rainy River Resources Ltd. : CIBC raises price target to C$11 from C$10
* Trelawney Mining and Exploration : CIBC cuts price target to C$4.25 from C$6.50