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TORONTO, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index is set to open a fresh month lower as underlying commodity prices slipped and concern mounted about the global economy and deteriorating corporate profits.
The resource-rich S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE fell 3.25 percent in January after bursting out of the gate early in the month. U.S. stock index futures also pointed to a lower open.
Key Canadian companies due to report earnings this week are energy players TransCanada Corp (TRP.TO) and Husky Energy (HSE.TO), but the pace will pick up in the following weeks when other resources companies, and blue-chip banks and insurers unveil their results.
Here is some of the news that may affect the market.
Oil fell below $41 a barrel as a deepening U.S. recession shrank demand in the world's top fuel burner and evidence mounted of a global downturn. [ID:nSYD119442]
Gold slipped as short-term investors took profits, but analysts say prices will be underpinned by investors looking for a safe place to park their assets. [ID:nL2227333]
The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan is raising its stake in Petro-Canada PCA.TO in a move to escalate a shareholder campaign for restructuring the oil company, the Globe and Mail reported, citing sources. The move comes after a prolonged period of what the fund perceives as underperformance. [ID:nBNG414059]
Canadian life sciences company MDS Inc MDS.TO said it named an independent board to look at all alternatives to boost shareholder value. No timetable had been set for any decision, the company said. [ID:nN02531978]
A major shareholder group of property and casualty insurer Kingsway Financial (KFS.TO) urged the company to sell or run-off non-core businesses and focus on its core business of non-standard auto insurance. [ID:nBNG235342]
Corporate Canada will likely deliver a wave of dismal earnings reports in coming weeks, but market pros say that could open the door to a stock rally as investors have grown numb to bad news and are ready to pounce on any morsel of optimism. [ID:nN30397782]
Canada is willing to explore all options to resolve concerns about "Buy American" requirements in U.S. economic stimulus legislation, but an exception solely for Canadian trade is not Ottawa's preference, the trade minister said on Sunday. [ID:nN01419379]
* See also: Obama calls meeting with top Democrats on stimulus [ID:nN01420749]
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters. For more, please see [RCH/CA]
* Genuity cuts Canaccord Capital CCI.TO price target to C$5 from C$5.50; rating hold
* Genuity raises Iamgold (IMG.TO), Dundee cuts price target
* Raymond James starts Niko Resources (NKO.TO) with outperform rating and C$55 price target ($1=$1.24 Canadian) (Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; Editing by James Dalgleish)