CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open lower, hurt by soft commodity prices
(Adds Manulife results)
Aug 11 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock market index was set to open lower on Thursday, with easing gold and oil prices and weaker European equities expected to further weigh on investor sentiment.
FACTORS TO WATCH
* Canadian equity futures <0#SXF:> pointed to a lower open.
* U.S. stock futures pared losses after data showed initial claims for jobless benefits fell to a four-month low last week and were slightly better than expected. [.N]
* Sharp declines in French bank shares dragged the financial sector and European shares lower, with traders citing growing concern about the outlook for French lenders. [.EU]
* Markets in Asia were largely lower, with the Nikkei resumed falling following a rebound the day before, after rumors about the health of French banks reignited concerns over the euro zone's debt crisis. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ To receive an early e-mail of Reuters Morning News Call - Canada -- a preview of market moving news -- Thomson Reuters subscribers can register at [CA/MNC] ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
COMMODITY PRICE MOVES
* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities benchmark, fell 0.54 percent in early trade.
* Brent crude fell below $106 a barrel, erasing earlier dollar-fuelled gains, on investor concerns that the European debt crisis could spill over to France and harm global economic growth. [O/R]
* Gold prices slipped more than 1 percent from record highs as a move by CME Group to hike margins for trading COMEX gold futures prompted some investors to cash in gains after an early rally. [GOL/]
* Copper prices rose, regaining a semblance of poise as financial markets stabilized, fears of economic meltdown receded and an appreciation of China's currency suggested it was confident about its growth prospects. [MET/L]
CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH
* Manulife Financial Corp MFC.TO earned C$490 million ($490 million) in the second quarter, topping estimates and rebounding from a year-earlier loss, as the insurer cut losses associated with weak financial markets. [ID:nN1E77914S]
* Kinross Gold (K.TO: Quote): The gold miner more than doubled its quarterly profit and raised its dividend payout on Wednesday, as surging bullion prices and acquisition-related production growth helped boost results. [ID:nN1E7791QJ]
* Iamgold Corp. IMG.TO: The miner said on Wednesday its second-quarter operating profit more than tripled, driven by a higher gold price and increased output. [ID: nN1E77921A]
* Open Text OTC.TO: The business software company, posted a 12 percent rise in quarterly adjusted profit on Wednesday and said recent acquisitions would help its global growth. [ID:nN1E7791HI]
* Semafo Inc. SMF.TO: posted a higher second-quarter profit as soaring gold prices offset lower gold production. [ID:nL3E7JA4S4]
* Aurizon Mines Ltd. ARZ.TO: The gold miner's second-quarter profit rose 17 percent helped by surging gold prices and higher output at Casa Berardi, its key producing mine in Quebec. [ID:nL4E7JB01B]
* SouthGobi Resources Ltd. (SGQ.TO: Quote): The coal miner posted a higher quarterly net profit, driven mainly by a rise in average realized coal prices. [ID:nL3E7JA4XX]
* North American Palladium Ltd. PDL.TO: The precious metals company reported a second-quarter profit helped by a 69-percent rise in quarterly palladium production at the company's flagship mine in Quebec and maintained its full year palladium production forecast. [ID:nL3E7JA576]
* Atrium Innovations ATB.TO: The dietary supplement-maker posted a rise in its quarterly profit, helped mainly by strong demand for its products. [ID:nL3E7JA4T9]
* Birchcliff Energy Ltd. (BIR.TO: Quote): The company's second-quarter earnings nearly doubled as it cashed in on higher production and lower operating costs, and it backed its full-year production outlook. [ID:nL3E7JA4UK]
* Miranda Technologies MT.TO: The technology provider's second-quarter net income remained unchanged, but beat estimates, as the television broadcast technology provider's sales growth was offset by higher costs. [ID:nSGE77A00X]
* Cineplex Inc. CGX.TO: The company reported a 40 percent drop in second-quarter profit, hurt by one-time charges and higher income tax expense. [ID:nSGE77A01S]
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters. [RCH/CA]
* Extendicare REIT EXE_u.TO price target cut to C$8.75 from C$10 at RBC
* Genivar Inc GNV.TO price target cut to C$30 from C$34 at Stonecap
* Pure Technologies Ltd PUR.TO price target cut to C$4.50 from C$5 at Stonecap
($1= $1.00 Canadian) (Reporting by Karan Khemani; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)
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