April 27, 2011 / 12:42 PM / in 6 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open higher on U.S. earnings, Fed eyed

April 27 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index looked set to open higher on Wednesday, buoyed by strong North American corporate results and higher prices for some commodities, including oil.

FACTORS TO WATCH

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

* U.S. stocks index futures rose as investors bet the Federal Reserve would indicate more of the same easy monetary policy and anticipated more forecast-beating earnings. [.N]

* European stocks inched higher, gaining ground for the fifth straight session as investors focused on strong results from bellwethers such as Ericsson and Renault. [.EU]

* Asian stocks were mixed with Tokyo stocks gaining 1.4 percent after a batch of Japanese and U.S. corporate earnings came in better than expected and Indian shares closing lower amid subdued world equities.

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities benchmark, fell 0.17 percent in early trade.

* Oil edged higher as support from a weaker dollar countered rising U.S. inventories [O/R]

* Silver steadied, after its largest one-day slide in over a month the previous day, while gold profited from a weaker dollar which came under pressure ahead of a U.S. Federal Reserve interest rate decision.[GOL/]

* Copper fell as inventories of the metal continued to build and as investors tread carefully ahead of a U.S. Federal Reserve decision on monetary policy, but a weaker dollar kept further losses in check.[MET/L]

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Barrick Gold (ABX.TO): The world’s largest gold miner reported a 22 percent increase in its quarterly profit, driven largely by a surge in bullion prices. [ID:nN27110953]

* Nexen Inc. NXY.TO: The independent oil producer, reported a 43 percent rise in first-quarter profit and said it expects production to increase in the second half of the year. [ID:nL3E7FR296]

Separately, Marathon Oil Corp and Nexen said on Tuesday they will jointly explore shale gas concessions in Poland, seen as one of Europe’s most prospective natural gas regions and did not give financial terms of the deal. [ID:nN26297445]

* Canadian National Railway (CNR.TO): The biggest railway in Canada raised its earnings forecast for the year on Tuesday, after reporting a 31 percent rise in quarterly profit, as it overcame severe winter conditions that slammed its main rival. [ID:nN26287831]

* TransCanada Corp (TRP.TO): The oil and gas pipeline operator said on Tuesday it will sell interests in two major U.S. gas pipelines to its affiliated partnership for $605 million to help fund its capital spending.[ID:nN26300100]

* Vitran Corp. VTN.TO: The North American transportation company posted a narrower quarterly loss helped by strength in both its less-than-truckload and supply chain operation segments. [ID:nL3E7FQ3ZM]

* Opti Canada OPC.TO: The company whose main asset is a 35 percent stake in the Long Lake oil sands project in Northern Alberta, said its first-quarter loss narrowed on higher bitumen production, but said it would not meet its annual production target.[ID:nL3E7FR29U]

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Birchcliff Energy (BIR.TO) price target raised to C$13.75 from C$12.75; rating sector perform at National Bank

* Canacol Energy CNE.V rating raised to sector performer from sector underperformer at CIBC

* Canadian National Railway Co (CNR.TO) price target raised to C$85 from C$82 at CIBC

* Precision Drilling Corp (PD.TO) price target raised to C$16.50 from C$15.50 at CIBC; price target raised to C$17 from C$16, rating outperform at RBC

$1= $0.95 Canadian Reporting by Anil Kumar; editing by Jeffrey Hodgson

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