February 14, 2011 / 1:49 PM / in 7 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open higher after Chinese imports surge

Feb 14 (Reuters) - Canada’s resource-heavy stock market looked set to open higher on Monday after Chinese data showed its trade surplus fell, with surprisingly strong imports highlighting the top resource consumer’s massive appetite for commodities.

FACTORS TO WATCH

* Canadian equity futures <0#SXF:> were little changed

* U.S. stock index futures edged lower after Wall Street posted two straight weeks of gains that drove indexes to new multi-year highs and investors worried the market is overextended. [.N]

* European shares hit a 29-month high, boosted by a renewed optimism for corporate earnings and an encouraging Chinese trade figures. [.EU]

* Asian stocks rallied, snapping five straight sessions of losses, as talk of slower-than-expected Chinese inflation helped drive Shanghai’s main share index to its best level in seven weeks.

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities benchmark, rose 0.12 percent in early trade.

* Brent crude oil rose towards $102 a barrel supported by Chinese trade data highlighting strong demand for raw materials in the world’s second-largest oil consumer. [O/R]

* Gold held below $1,360 an ounce in Europe as a stronger dollar put a lid on last week’s gains, though a second consecutive weekly price rise has underpinned investor confidence in the precious metal. [GOL/]

* Copper rose above $10,000 a tonne to near all-time peaks and tin hit a record high, as supply tightness bolstered both metals, while a surprise jump in copper imports from top metals consumer China boosted sentiment. [MET/L]

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Ventana Gold Corp. VEN.TO: The company said on Monday it agreed to accept a sweetened bid of C$13.06 per share from AUX Canada Acquisition, which is controlled by Brazil’s Eike Batista. [ID:nN14278978]

* AbitibiBowater Inc. ABH.TO: The newsprint maker on Monday agreed to sell its 75 percent interest in the Ontario hydroelectric project to a consortium formed by a major Canadian institutional investor and a private renewable energy company for cash proceeds of C$300 million. [ID:nSGE71A0B9]

* Canfor Corp. (CFP.TO): The softwood lumber producer posted a profit in the fourth-quarter as sales to China offset weak demand from a struggling housing sector in the United States. [ID:nN10233139]

* Surge Energy Inc. SGY.V. The company on Monday said its 2010 exit production rate was ahead of its raised forecast and backed its 2011 output view. [ID:nSGE71D09V]

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Air Canada ACb.TO price target cut to C$5 from C$6.50; rating outperform at Raymond James

* Anooraq Resources ARQ.V rating cut to market perform from outperform at Raymond James

* Opti Canada OPC.TO price target cut to C$0.30 from C$0.75 at Raymond James

* Platinum Group Metals PTM.TO rating cut to outperform from strong buy at Raymond James

* Precision Drilling (PD.TO) rating raised to outperform from market perform at Raymond James

* TimberWest Forest TWF_u.TO price target raised to C$7 from C$6; rating outperform at Raymond James

$1= $0.98 Canadian Reporting by Kishan Nair and Bangalore Newsroom; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson

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