May 4, 2011 / 12:43 PM / in 6 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX set to open little changed, commodities weigh

May 4 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index looked set to open little changed on Wednesday, with softer prices for commodities including oil, copper, gold and silver weighing on the market.

FACTORS TO WATCH

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

* U.S. stock index futures edged lower as investors awaited data on the services industry and labor market for insight into the health of the economic recovery. [.N]

* European stocks extended their losses around midday in a broad retreat led by mining and energy stocks, eclipsing robust results from BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA). [.EU]

* Markets in Asia were largely in the red, with Indian shares provisionally closing 0.4 percent lower on concerns the central bank may continue to raise rates aggressively as it tries to tame inflation.

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities benchmark, fell 0.60 percent in early trade.

* Crude oil futures slipped in volatile trade ahead of the release of weekly U.S. oil inventory data expecting to show an increase in crude stockpiles later in the day. [O/R]

* Silver fell some three percent to hit its lowest in three weeks. [GOL/]

* Copper dropped as investors worried that tightening measures in top consumer China would constrict demand, although a dollar reversal helped to cushion prices. [MET/L]

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Agrium Inc. (AGU.TO): The farm retailer and potash miner posted a quarterly profit buoyed by higher fertilizer prices. [ID:nL3E7G427J]

* Kinross Gold (K.TO) and Yamana Gold (YRI.TO): The companies posted stronger quarterly profits on Tuesday, boosted by the rising price of bullion. Kinross said earnings rose to $255.5 million, or 23 cents a share. [ID:nN03126800]

* Torstar Corp. (TSb.TO): The publisher’s quarterly profit fell marginally as revenue from print advertising fell and it invested more in its digital business. [ID:nL3E7G41ZN]

* Macdonald Dettwiler and Associates’ (MDA.TO): The satellite and data distribution company first-quarter earnings rose three-fold, helped by an after-tax gain on the sale of its property information business. [ID:nL3E7G34DR]

* Genworth MI Canada (MIC.TO): The mortgage insurer’s first-quarter profit fell 5 percent due to a weak housing market. Earnings were $80 million, or 76 cents a share, compared with $84 million, or 71 cents a share, a year ago. [ID:nL3E7G34E9]

* West Fraser Timber Co Ltd. (WFT.TO): The softwood producer posted a lower quarterly profit on Tuesday, hurt by weak demand for lumber and a stronger Canadian dollar. [ID:nL3E7G34H9]

* Mullen Group (MTL.TO): The trucking and logistics company said it plans to buy Alberta-based Hi-Way 9 group of companies in a cash and stock deal to boost its less-than-truckload services. [ID:nL3E7G34J0]

* Aecon Group Inc. (ARE.TO): The construction company posted a wider first-quarter loss, partly hurt by higher expenses, but said it was on target to meet its outlook for this year and the next. [ID:nL3E7G34MA]

* Cott Corp (BCB.TO): The soft drink maker posted a lower quarterly profit on Wednesday, hurt by higher commodity costs. [ID:nN04176837]

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* MDA (MDA.TO) price target raised to C$66 from C$62 at CIBC

$1= $0.95 Canadian Reporting by Shrutee Sarkar; editing by Jeffrey Hodgson

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