April 23, 2010 / 12:50 PM / 7 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open higher on Greece plan, inflation drop

April 23 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index could open higher on Friday after Greece asked the European Union and IMF to activate its 45 billion euro emergency package aimed at pulling the country out of its debt crisis.

European markets recovered after a two-day fall with support from bank shares and positive earnings from Volvo (VOLVb.ST) and Ericsson (ERICb.ST).

U.S stock futures rose, pointing to a higher start on Wall Street. [.N]

Canada’s annual core inflation rate dropped in March to 1.7 percent from 2.1 percent, in part because prices for travel and accommodation dipped after the Winter Olympics, reducing the odds of aggressive near-term rate hikes by the Bank of Canada.

Investors are expected to keep a close eye on world finance leaders gathering in Washington, who are likely to discuss regulation and the idea of introducing a bank tax levy.

Here is some news that could affect stock prices:

OIL DIPS ON GREECE

Oil dipped towards $83.50 a barrel as Greece’s request for financial aid failed to soothe nerves over the outlook for the beleaguered eurozone member, dampening risk appetite across markets. [O/R]

GOLD HOLDS

Gold held near $1,140 an ounce caught between contrasting pressures, as persistent fears over Greece’s ability to deal with its debt supported the metal’s haven appeal but stoked concern over the euro’s outlook. [GOL/]

COPPER UP ON GREECE

Copper rose as the euro bounced back from losses against the dollar on news that debt-ladden Greece has asked for financial aid, while upbeat economic data boosted the demand outlook. [MET/L]

C$ HITS DAY-LOW VS US$

The Canadian dollar hit the day’s low against the U.S. dollar on Friday after lower-than-expected Canadian inflation figures quelled some speculation that interest rates may rise soon. [CAD/]

SEARS HOLDINGS BOOSTS SEARS CANADA STAKE

U.S. retailer Sears Holdings Corp (SHLD.O) said that it would take an additional 17.3 percent stake in Sears Canada Inc SCC.TO, cementing its hold on the Canadian department store chain which it tried to take private some four years ago. [ID:nN2395953]

SIMON IMPROVES GENERAL GROWTH BID

Simon Property Group Inc (SPG.N) said on Thursday it improved its offer to help fund rival General Growth Properties Inc’s (GGP.N) exit from bankruptcy, as it moved to elbow a competing bid by Brookfield Asset Management Inc (BAMa.TO) out of the way. [ID:nN22242455]

TECK REINSTATES DIVIDEND

Teck Resources TCKb.TO said on Thursday it will reinstate the common share dividend it suspended in late 2008 while struggling to pay off billions of dollars in acquisition debt. [ID:nN22107208]

INTERNATIONAL FOREST LOSS NARROWS

International Forest Products Ltd IFPa.TO posted a narrower first-quarter loss, helped by higher commodity prices in North America, but said considerable uncertainty remains in the housing market. [ID:nSGE63M0ES]

SERICA TO DRILL CONAN PROSPECT

Serica Energy Plc (SQZ.L) SQZ.V said it was preparing to drill the Conan prospect in the two UK East Irish blocks and secured a drilling rig for an exploration well on the Oates Prospect in the UK Central North Sea. [ID:nSGE63M08S]

CELESTICA EYES ACQUISITIONS

Contract electronics maker Celestica Inc (CLS.TO) (CLS.N) said on Thursday it plans to use its healthy cash cushion to fuel growth, including two health-care acquisitions it expects to close in the second half of the year. [ID:nN22250722]

CENOVUS UPS STAFFS

Cenovus Energy Inc (CVE.TO) is boosting its workforce by 6 percent as it accelerates development of two Alberta oil sands projects, the company said on Thursday while providing a new estimate of its overall bitumen resources. [ID:nN22172906]

CIPHER LOSS NARROWS

Cipher Pharmaceuticals Inc DND.TO said its first-quarter loss narrowed on increased sales of Lipofen, a drug that helps manage cholesterol levels. [ID:nWNAB1329]

GROUNDSTAR NAMES CFO

Groundstar Resources Ltd GSA.V on Friday appointed Darryl Raymaker as its Chief Financial Officer. [ID:nWNAB1327]

QUATERRA‘S INCENTIVE STOCK OPTIONS

Quaterra Resources Inc QTA.V on Thursday granted 300,000 incentive stock options to certain directors, officers, employees, consultants with each option being exercisable between C$1.76 and C$1.80 per share for periods of up to 5 yrs. [ID:nWEN3378]

RESEARCH ROUNDUP

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

Note: All values in Canadian currency, unless otherwise stated.

* CGI Group (GIBa.TO) rating cut to market perform from outperform at Raymond James

* Dragonwave DWI.TO rating started with market perform; target price of $10.50 at Raymond James

* Orleans Energy OEX.TO price target raised to $3.25 from C$2.75; rating outperform at Raymond James

* Precision Drilling Trust PD_u.TO price target cut to $10.50 from $11; rating overweight at Thomas Weisel (Reporting by Bangalore newsroom, editing by Savio D‘Souza and Jeffrey Hodgson)

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