May 31, 2012 / 1:02 PM / 5 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX set to open higher, but euro crisis weighs

4 Min Read

May 31 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index was set to edge higher at the open on Thursday, but gains were expected to be limited by escalating tensions in the euro zone crisis and weak U.S. economic data.

The S&P/TSX composite index was still on track for its worst monthly performance since September 2011.

Top Stories

* The pace of hiring at U.S. companies picked up in May, though the 133,000 jobs created this month came in shy of analysts' expectations, data from a payrolls processor showed on Thursday. [ID:nL1E8GV23U}

* Europe's leaders must clarify their vision for the euro quickly to dispel doubts about the currency's future, ECB President Mario Draghi said, warning that the Central Bank could not fill the policy vacuum.

* Euro zone inflation eased further than expected to its lowest level in more than a year in May, giving the European Central Bank a little more room to lower interest rates amid fears of deep recession across the continent.

* Canada's CGI Group Inc agreed to buy Anglo-Dutch IT services firm Logica for $2.64 billion, giving it the scale and geographical presence to meet multinational companies' demands for global IT contracts.

* Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce reported a 6 percent increase in quarterly income, topping estimates, on higher volumes at its retail and business banking operations.

* National Bank of Canada said its net profit jumped 69 percent in the second quarter thanks to a one-time gain from an asset sale, and the bank boosted its quarterly dividend by 5 percent.

Market Snapshot

* Canada stock futures traded up 0.48 percent

* U.S. stock futures , , were up around 0.30 percent

* European shares, were up

Commodity Price Moves

* Thomson Reuters-Jeffries CRB Index : 275.2; rose 0.05 percent

* Gold Futures : $1562.1; fell 0.08 percent

* US Crude : $87.93; rose 0.13 percent

* Brent Crude : $103.7; rose 0.22 percent

* LME 3-month Copper : $7509.5; rose 0.43 percent

Canadian Stocks to Watch

* TMX Group Inc : The consortium of Canadian financial institutions bidding for the operator of the Toronto Stock Exchange extended its C$3.8 billion offer to July 31, it said.

* Descartes Systems Group Inc. : The business software provider posted an 18 percent rise in quarterly profit, helped by an increase in its services revenue.

* CE Franklin Ltd. : The oilfield production equipment distributor said it will be bought by National Oilwell Varco for about $233.08 million in cash as National Oilwell expands its footprint.

* Cenovus Energy Inc. : The oil producer said on Wednesday it won regulatory approval for its third major steam-driven oil sands project, a joint-venture development in which it will test new production technology aimed at getting more tar-like oil out of the ground.

Analyst Recommendations

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

* Extorre Gold Mines : Canaccord Genuity cuts target price to C$5.90 from C$9.10 and maintained its speculative buy rating

* Forbes and Manhattan Coal : Canaccord Genuity cuts target to C$3 from C$3.60 after the company posted 4th-qtr results

* Innovative Composites : Canaccord Genuity cut target price to C$1.25 from C$2.25, and said prospects for near-term orders have worsened

* Reitmans : CIBC cuts price target to C$15 from C$16 after 1st-qtr results and on declining margins

* Veresen : Canaccord Genuity raises to buy on valuation

On the Calendar

* Major Canadian economic data includes Current account-

* Major U.S. events and data includes ADP employment report, initial claims, GDP and Chicago PMI

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