February 29, 2012 / 1:27 PM / 6 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX set to open up on ECB loan boost

Feb 29 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index was set to edge higher at the open on Wednesday after European banks absorbed more than half a trillion euros as part of a European Central Bank effort to stabilize the euro zone’s financial system.

Banks grabbed 530 billion euros at the central bank’s second offering of cheap three-year funds, fuelling expectations that credit will flow to businesses and borrowing costs will ease for governments hit by the euro zone crisis.

FACTORS TO WATCH

* Canadian equity futures pointed to a higher open.

* The Canadian dollar surged to its strongest level in more than 5 months against the U.S. dollar after a robust uptake of the ECB’s latest offer of cheap loans buoyed riskier assets.

* U.S. stock index futures edged up after the ECB operation.

* The euro dipped to a session low against the dollar in volatile trade while European stocks gained and German Bunds fell after the ECB move.

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, a global commodities benchmark, fell 0.02 percent in early trade.

* Brent crude oil gained more than $1 per barrel, snapping two days of sharp falls.

* Gold eased, reversing a brief move higher after the ECB fed cash-hungry commercial banks over half a trillion euros in cheap loans, further greasing the wheels of the financial system, but depressing the value of the euro.

* Copper prices rallied to a more than two-week high after banks snapped up more than 500 billion in cheap funding from the ECB aimed at injecting liquidity into the market, helping risky assets push higher.

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* TransForce Inc. : The trucker’s fourth-quarter profit rose by a fifth helped mainly by strong performance in its energy services and package and courier segments.

* Quadra FNX : Europe’s copper producer KGHM said Canada’s Minister of Industry agreed for its takeover of the Canadian rival, clearing the last obstacle for the C$3 billion deal.

* Torstar Corp : The publisher posted a 77 percent rise in fourth-quarter profit, helped partly by higher revenue from its digital segment, but said revenue outlook for the media unit remains uncertain for the year.

* Toronto-Dominion Bank : The U.S. arm of the bank has reached a settlement with investors who claimed it helped a South Florida lawyer convicted of running a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme, a bank spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

* MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates : The satellite and data distribution company posted a flat quarterly profit from ongoing operations on Tuesday as revenue dipped, but it boosted its dividend by 30 percent and growth at its satellite imaging unit impressed analysts.

* Tim Hortons : The coffee shop chain looking to make deeper inroads south of the border, is under mounting pressure by animal rights activists to assure that its U.S. pork and egg suppliers adopt more humane practices.

* Air Canada : Pilots at the airline said on Tuesday they have asked the federal labor minister to appoint a new co-mediator to assist in their contract talks with the company after an incumbent resigned.

* Miranda Technologies Inc. : The broadcast infrastructure provider quarterly earnings rose four percent, helped by strong sales growth in the U.S. and the United Kingdom.

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Bank of Montreal : CIBC cuts price target to C$62 from C$63

* Bellatrix Exploration Ltd. : CIBC raises price target to C$7.50 from C$7

* Calfrac Well Services Ltd. : CIBC raises price target to C$42 from C$40

* Lake Shore Gold Corp. : RBC cuts price target to C$2.70 from C$3

* MDA : CIBC cuts price target to C$47.50 from C$48.50

* Morguard Real Estate Investment : RBC raises price target to C$18 from C$17.50

* Parkland Fuel Corp. : Canaccord Genuity raises target price to C$14 from C$12.50

* PetroMagdalena Energy : CIBC raises to sector outperformer from sector performer

* SNC Lavalin Group Inc. : CIBC cuts price target to C$53 from C$64

* Thompson Creek Metals Co Inc. : CIBC cuts price target to C$13 from C$14

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