March 4, 2011 / 2:01 PM / in 7 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX set to open little changed; firm oil supports

Mar 4 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index, which reached a near 3-year high on Thursday, looked set to open little changed on Friday as U.S. jobs data failed to impress some investors, offsetting the impact of higher oil prices on energy stocks.

FACTORS TO WATCH

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

* U.S. stock index futures pared gains and S&P 500 futures turned negative shortly after a government report showed the U.S. economy created more jobs than expected in February. [.N]

* European shares rose on growing optimism a key jobs report will show the recovery in the United States, the world’s largest economy, gathering momentum. [.EU]

* Major markets in Asia rose on bargain hunting, while Indian shares bucked the trend to close down 0.1 percent after rising as much as 1.3 percent earlier, as traders locked in gains.

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities benchmark, rose 0.53 percent in early trade.

* Crude oil rose on Friday, with Brent above $115 a barrel, as Libyan rebels vowing “victory or death” advanced towards a major oil terminal, and on protests in Saudi Arabia’s oil-producing Eastern Province. [O/R]

* Gold held steady ahead of key U.S. payrolls data, having arrested the previous session’s slide as unrest in North Africa supported demand for the metal as a haven from risk. [GOL/]

* Copper rose on Friday but fighting in oil-producing Libya capped gains as climbing crude prices stoked worries of inflation hitting growth. [MET/L]

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Panama’s president asked legislators to repeal a recent law that allows for foreign government investment in mines within the Central American country. The law is crucial to Canada’s Inmet Mining IMN.TO. [ID:nN04106429]

* Silver Wheaton SLW.TO: The company on Thursday declared its maiden dividend, while its fourth-quarter profit beat analysts estimates, boosted by higher bullion prices. [ID:nL3E7E32KD]

* CML Healthcare Inc. CLC.TO: The company, which specializes in medical imaging and laboratory testing services, reported wider fourth-quarter loss, hurt by continued weakness in its U.S. segment and a stronger Canadian dollar. [ID:nL3E7E40VB]

* Intermap Technologies (IMP.TO): The digital mapping company on Thursday reported a higher fourth-quarter loss, as revenue from its contract services segment plunged 84 percent. [ID:nL3E7E3294]

* ShawCor Ltd. SCLa.TO: The energy services company on Thursday reported a higher fourth-quarter profit, helped by a rise in the number of pipeline projects in North America. [ID:nL3E7E32IG]

* Mosaid Technologies Inc. MSD.TO: The Canadian patent-licensing firm’s third-quarter profit more than tripled, helped by a rise in royalty payments, and the company hiked its full-year earnings outlook for the second time on Thursday. [ID:nL3E7E326T]

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* 5N Plus Inc (VNP.TO) price target raised to C$13.50 from C$10; rating buy at Versant

* Bonavista Energy (BNP.TO) price target raised to C$34 from C$33; rating buy at TD Newcrest; price target raised to C$33 from C$31.50; rating buy at UBS

* Calfrac Well Services (CFW.TO) rating cut to hold rating at Canaccord Genuity

* Canadian Natural (CNQ.TO) price target raised to C$55 from C$51; rating buy at TD Newcrest

* Canadian Western (CWB.TO) price target raised to C$33 from C$32; rating sector perform at National Bank

* Capital Power Income CPA_u.TO rating cut to hold from buy at TD Newcrest

* Cathedral Energy Services Income Trust CET.TO rating cut to sector perform from outperform price target raised to C$13 from at RBC; price target raised to C$13 from C$10.50; rating buy at TD Newcrest

* Constellation Software (CSU.TO) price target raised to C$65 from C$57; rating buy at TD Newcrest

* Meg Energy MEG.TO rating started with buy rating; C$58 target price at Canaccord Genuity

* Onex Corp OCX.TO price target raised to C$40 from C$36; rating at UBS Paladin Labs Inc PLB.TO price target raised to C$39 from C$36; rating at TD Newcrest

* Petrominerales PMG.TO price target raised to C$27 from C$25; rating underperform at Raymond James

* RBC (RY.TO) price target raised to C$67 from C$62; rating buy at TD Newcrest

* Silver Wheaton Corp SLW price target raised to $45 from $36; rating hold at TD Newcrest

* TD Bank (TD.TO) price target raised to C$95 from C$86; rating outperform at National Bank; rating raised to buy from neutral at UBS

* Trican Well Service (TCW.TO) rating cut to hold rating at Canaccord Genuity

* Trinidad Drilling (TDG.TO) price target raised to C$11 from C$10; rating outperform at RBC; price target raised to C$9.50 from C$8.50; rating outperform at Raymond James; price target raised to C$9 from C$7;rating hold at TD Newcrest

($1= $0.9726 Canadian)

Reporting by Shrutee Sarkar; editing by Jeffrey Hodgson

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