July 4, 2011 / 12:27 PM / in 6 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open higher in catch-up with Wall Street

July 4 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index looked set to open sharply higher on Monday, playing catch-up with strong gains in U.S. stocks on Friday, when Canadian markets were closed for a holiday.

U.S. stocks, which won’t trade on Monday because of the holiday there, jumped more than 1 percent on Friday on strong manufacturing data that eased concerns about slowing growth. [.N]

FACTORS TO WATCH

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

* European share prices were flat and on course to snap a five-session rally after credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s raised fresh concerns over private sector involvement in a second Greek bailout package, hitting banks sharply after a strong rally last week. [.EU]

* Asian markets were up after data pointed to a moderate slowdown in China’s growth.

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* U.S. crude steadied, supported by firmer share markets, while Brent edged lower due mainly to a warning by credit agency S&P of a potential default by Greece. [O/R]

* Gold prices rose 0.5 percent in Europe, supported by a rebound in the euro versus the dollar, and as investors took advantage of the metal’s dip to six-week lows last week to buy into the market. [GOL/]

* Copper rose to its highest in more than two months as market sentiment improved after data last week showed U.S. manufacturing grew at a surprisingly strong pace in June, easing concerns over an economic slowdown. [MET/L]

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Wi-LAN Inc. WIN.TO: The patent licensing firm said it agreed to settle litigation related to Bluetooth technology with chipmaker Texas Instruments for an undisclosed amount. [ID:nL3E7I417O]

* Research in Motion RIM.TO: Apple, Microsoft, RIM and three other companies joined forces to outbid Google at an auction for Nortel wireless patents, a move that could result in big licensing fees for Google. [ID:nNL3E7I10H]

Separately, after a delay of more than two months, AT&T Inc has agreed to support the BlackBerry maker’s Bridge application, which lets BlackBerry users see email and other services on RIM’s PlayBook tablet without incurring additional charges. [ID:nN1E7601GF]

Meanwhile, RIM succumbed to rising shareholder pressure on Thursday, agreeing to study a split of its co-chair and co-chief executive roles and dodging a showdown at its annual meeting. [ID:nN1E75T24F]

Beleaguered BlackBerry maker also responded to a critical letter posted on a tech website and credited to an unidentified senior RIM executive by saying it was aggressively addressing its challenges. [ID:nN1E75T1TO]

* Sun Life Financial SLF.TO: The insurance company said its CEO Donald Stewart will retire on Nov. 30 and will be replaced by Dean Connor, who is the CFO. Connor will become president and CEO effective Dec. 1. [ID:nN1E76302W]

* Whiterock Real Estate Investment Trust WRK_u.TO: The REIT said it will buy two office properties in Ontario worth $218 million as it positions itself as an owner and manager of high-quality office buildings in major Canadian markets. [ID:nL3E7I41AP]

* Potash Corp. (POT.TO): Mosaic said a Saskatchewan Court ordered it to continue to supply potash to the company until the companies’ trial, scheduled for January 2012, begins. [ID:nL3E7I101S]

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Armtec Infrastructure ARF.TO rating upgraded to outperform from market perform at Raymond James

* Yellow Media YLO.TO price target cut to C$3 from C$4; maintains sector perform at National Bank

$1= $0.96 Canadian Reporting by Kishan Nair; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson

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