July 18, 2013 / 12:26 PM / in 4 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open higher; investors awaits Bernanke's comments

July 18 (Reuters) - Canadian stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Thursday, a day after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke helped drive the index to a six-week high, as investors watched for further clues from Bernanke’s comments when he appears before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee later in the day.

TOP STORIES

* Shoppers Drug Mart Corp, which has agreed to bought by grocer Loblaw Co Ltd, reported a slight increase in second quarter profit, helped by stronger pharmacy sales.

* Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday the U.S. central bank still expects to start scaling back its massive bond purchase program later this year, but he left open the option of changing that plan if the economic outlook shifted.

* Morgan Stanley reported a 42 percent rise in second-quarter profit, helped by higher revenue from trading, underwriting and wealth management.

* UnitedHealth Group Inc reported a bigger-than-expected rise in second-quarter net income as it enrolled more people in private and government-paid health insurance plans and sold more health technology systems.

* Nokia missed analysts forecasts for sales of its handsets in the second quarter as the company struggles to recapture market share it has lost to rivals Samsung and Apple.

MARKET SNAPSHOT

* Canada stock futures traded up 0.29 percent

* U.S. stock futures , , were mixed around -0.12 percent to 0.05 percent

* European shares, were up

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 288.9282; rose 0.15 percent

* Gold futures : $1,275.9; fell 0.16 percent

* US crude : $106.48; was unchanged

* Brent crude : $108.21; fell 0.37 percent

* LME 3-month copper : $6,889; fell 0.01 percent

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Transition Therapeutics : The Canadian biopharmaceutical company said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted a fast-track status to its Alzheimer’s drug.

ANALYSTS’ RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Intact Financial Corp : National Bank Financial cuts price target to C$71 from C$72 on lowered earnings per share estimates to reflect catastrophe losses related to the recent floods in Alberta and Toronto

* Russel Metals Inc : Raymond James cuts price target to C$26 from C$29 on valuation

* West Fraser Timber Co Ltd : Raymond James raises price target to C$110 from C$105 as the company’s second-quarter results beat market expectations

ON THE CALENDAR

* Major Canadian economic data includes wholesale trade

* Major U.S. events and data includes initial claims, lead indicators, Philly Fed business and SEMI Book

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