November 3, 2011 / 1:03 PM / 6 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX to open higher on firm U.S. data, ECB cut

Nov 3 (Reuters) - Canadian stocks were set to open higher on Thursday, helped by encouraging U.S. economic data and the European Central Bank’s surprise decision to cut interest rates.

Still, investors were expected to trade cautiously as chaos over Greece’s role in the euro zone swept financial markets with early losses in stocks and the euro turning to gains on hopes Athens might ditch its referendum plans. [MKTS/GLOB]

FACTORS TO WATCH

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

* U.S. stock index futures added to gains in choppy trade after data showed new U.S. claims for unemployment benefits fell last week while U.S. nonfarm productivity increased during the third quarter. [.N]

* European shares were trading higher, with opening losses reversed on talk the Greek government might collapse, meaning there might be no referendum on its bailout and easing concerns about an imminent default. [.EU] ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ 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, rose 0.56 percent in early trade.

* Oil prices edged higher, pushing towards $110 a barrel, as hopes that a Greek referendum on a eurozone bail out would be delayed if the government collapsed, allowing the eurozone to work its way out of its debt crisis. [O/R]

* Gold fell, under pressure from a vulnerable euro and turmoil hitting financial markets on the possibility of Greece exiting the euro zone. [GOL/]

* Copper fell more than 2 percent as escalating worries about a Greek sovereign debt default and a Euro collapse darkened market sentiment, offsetting supply deficit concerns. [MET/L]

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Suncor Energy Inc. (SU.TO): The oil and gas producer’s third-quarter profit rose 5.7 percent, helped by higher production from its oil sands business and a rise in oil prices. [ID:nL4E7M311W]

* Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (CNQ.TO): The oil producer’s third-quarter profit rose 40 percent on higher crude oil production. [ID:nL4E7M31JS]

* Husky Energy Inc. (HSE.TO): The oil producer’s third-quarter profit doubled on robust production and higher realized crude prices. [ID:nL4E7M3250]

* Kinross Gold (K.TO) & Yamana Gold (YRI.TO): The gold miners reported sharp increases in operating profits on Wednesday, as results were boosted by increased output and a surge in the price of bullion. [ID:nN1E7A11S4]

* Encana Corp (ECA.TO): The natural gas producer said it reached an agreement to sell its North Texas natural gas-producing properties to partnerships managed by EnerVest Ltd for about $975 million. [ID:nN1E7A2057]

* Sun Life Financial Inc. (SLF.TO): The insurer fell to a steep loss in the third quarter due to falling bond yields and stock prices, it said on Wednesday. [ID:nN1E7A11NW]

* Agrium Inc. (AGU.TO): The fertilizer maker and farm products retailer said its third-quarter profit surged, driven by a strong performance in its retail businesses and high crop nutrient prices. [ID:nN1E7A2059]

* Penn West Petroleum Ltd. PWT.TO: The oil and natural gas producer posted third-quarter earnings that were half that of a year ago, but backed its full-year production outlook. [ID:nL4E7M327K]

* Magna International (MG.TO) The auto parts manufacturer reported a 62 percent drop in third-quarter profit, hurt by certain costs. [ID:nL4E7M31OM]

* ARC Resources Ltd. (ARX.TO): The oil and gas company posted higher quarterly profit, helped by higher oil production and forecast a strong fourth quarter. [ID:nL4E7M261A]

* Alamos Gold AGI.TO: The gold miner posted a 73 percent drop in third-quarter profit, dented partly by a tax charge related to the weaker Mexican peso. [ID:nL4E7M31VI]

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Daylight Energy DAY.TO rating cut to sector underperformer from sector performer at CIBC

* Gluskin Sheff Associates GS.TO rating cut to sector underperformer from sector performer at CIBC

* Maple Leaf Foods Inc (MFI.TO) coverage started with sector performer rating; C$13 price target at CIBC

$1= $1.01 Canadian Reporting by Rahul Karunakar; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson

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