November 3, 2010 / 1:03 PM / in 7 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX looks set to open little changed, Fed eyed

Nov 3 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index looked set to open little changed on Wednesday, supported by a rise in commodity prices, but with investors largely focused on the U.S. Federal Reserve’s monetary policy decision later in the session.

FACTORS TO WATCH

* Canadian equity futures <0#SXF:> pointed to a flat open.

* U.S. stock index futures edged up after Republicans won control of the U.S. House and strengthened their ranks in the Senate and ahead of an expected Federal Reserve announcement on monetary easing. [.N]

* European shares rose for a fifth straight day, on hopes that the U.S. Federal Reserve will announce further monetary easing and help put the economic recovery back on track. [.EU]

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities benchmark, rose 0.49 percent in early trade.

* Oil climbed to a six-month high above $85 for a second straight session after U.S. fuel inventories fell, and ahead of the widely anticipated U.S. Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing announcement due later. [O/R]

* Gold held firm near $1,360 an ounce in Europe, supported by a softer dollar, as traders remained nervous of adding to positions ahead of an announcement on monetary policy from the Federal Reserve. [GOL/]

* Copper edged lower in London as investors stayed cautious ahead of a series of U.S. economic reports, and a monetary policy meeting later in the day while a soft dollar and inflation concerns cushioned prices. [MET/L]

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Agrium Inc (AGU.TO): The crop nutrient maker and farm products retailer said on Wednesday its third-quarter profit more than doubled, as the recent strengthening in grain prices helped boost both demand and pricing for fertilizers. [ID:nN02163884]

* Enbridge Inc. (ENB.TO): The company, whose pipeline woes this summer disrupted North American oil markets, said on Wednesday its third-quarter profit almost halved, hurt by ruptures on two of its key pipelines. [ID:nN02241818]

* Russian fertiliser companies should club together to buy a stake in Canada’s Potash Corp (POT.TO) to block a hostile bid by BHP Billiton, the Board Chairman of Russia’s Phosagro said on Wednesday. [ID:nWLA6987]

* Taseko Mines (TKO.TO): The government of Canada has decided to block the company’s development of controversial copper-gold mine in British Columbia, Environment Minister Jim Prentice said on Tuesday. [ID:nN02153973]

* Home Capital Group Inc. (HCG.TO): The mortgage lender reported on Tuesday a third-quarter profit above market estimates, helped partly by higher net interest income. [ID:nSGE6A10LV]

* Superior Plus Corp. (SPB.TO): The diversified business company reported on Tuesday a second consecutive quarterly loss as a weak U.S. housing market hurt its construction products distribution business, and cut its 2010 adjusted operating cash flow view for the fifth time this year. [ID:nSGE6A10LF]

* North American Energy Partners Inc. (NOA.TO): The provider of resource services to oil and gas companies posted a 44 percent drop in quarterly profit, hurt by wet weather conditions and project delays. [ID:nSGE6A00LL]

* Davis + Henderson Income Fund DHF_u.TO: The trust reported on Tuesday quarterly profit, which fell 14 percent, hurt by higher expenses and restructuring charges. [ID:nSGE6A10MV]

* Russel Metals Inc. (RUS.TO): The metals producer and distributor reported a 30 percent rise in quarterly profit on Tuesday, helped by higher margins, and said it sees modest short- and medium-term growth in its markets. [ID:nN02245587]

* ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc. (ATA.TO): The company which makes factory automation systems and solar energy equipment reported on Wednesday lower-than-expected quarterly results as declining average selling prices and a fall in system sales hurt its solar energy unit, for which it is mulling options. [ID:nSGE6A20FR]

* Torstar Corp. (TSb.TO): The publisher of the Toronto Star, reported on Tuesday a third-quarter profit that beat market estimates, helped by growth in its newspapers and digital division. [ID:nSGE6A20GJ]

* QLT Inc. QLT.TO: The pharmaceuticals company reported on Wednesday a quarterly loss and cut its full-year sales outlook, hurt by weaker performance of its key eye treatment, Visudyne. [ID:nSGE6A20G6]

* Intact Financial Corp. (IFC.TO): The home and auto insurer reported on Wednesday quarterly profit helped by improved underwriting performance [ID:nSGE6A20F3]

* Canaccord Financial Inc. (CF.TO): The brokerage firm reported on Wednesday a 44 percent rise in quarterly profit, but missed analysts’ estimate by a cent as a volatile U.S. market hurt advisory fees. [ID:nSGE6A20FO]

* Yellow Media Inc. YLO.TO: The media and marketing company reported on Wednesday a quarterly profit, helped by an increase in online revenue, and said it was shifting to digital services to sustain the growth. [ID:nSGE6A00FQ]

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters. [RCH/CA]

* Alaris Royalty (AD.TO) price target raised to C$12.70 from C$12.30; rating buy at Acumen Capital

* Arc Energy Trust AET_u.TO price target raised to C$21.50 from C$21; keeps market perform rating at Raymond James

* Breakwater Resources BWR.TO rating cut to market perform from outperform at Raymond James

* Canadian REIT REF_u.TO price target raised to C$35 from C$34.25; rating outperform at RBC

* Jaguar Mining (JAG.TO) price target cut to C$8.50 from C$10; rating sector perform at RBC

* Russel Metals (RUS.TO) price target raised to C$21 from C$20; keeps market perform rating at Raymond James

* Talisman Energy TLM.TO price target raised to C$22 from C$21; keeps outperform rating at Raymond James

* Transcontinental Inc (TCLa.TO) rating cut to sector perform from outperform at RBC

$1= $1.01 Canadian Reporting by Bangalore Newsroom; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson

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