May 27, 2011 / 12:31 PM / in 6 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open higher on stronger commodity prices

May 27 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index looked set to open higher on Friday, helped by stronger commodity prices, even after the country’s largest lender, Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), reported weaker-than-expected earnings.

FACTORS TO WATCH

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

* U.S. stock index futures were little changed, with investors cautious before a long holiday weekend and economic data on pending home sales and consumer sentiment that could give the market direction. [.N]

* Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO): The bank reported a 13 percent increase in quarterly profit and raised its dividend, but the results came in slightly below expectations. [ID:nN27293256]

* Gains in heavyweight banks lifted European stocks on a report that lenders could evade part of the Basel III capital requirements, while technical indicators pointed to further short-term gains for equities. [.EU]

* Markets in Asia were largely higher, but with an exception to Nikkei, which fell for its third straight week of losses, pulled lower by a drop in Sony Corp shares after the electronic giant’s earnings outlook undershot analyst forecasts.

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities benchmark, rose 0.52 percent in early trade.

* Brent crude hovered barely changed at around $115 a barrel, paring earlier gains, as a softer dollar tempered demand worries triggered by euro zone debt concerns and weak U.S. economic data. [O/R]

* Gold prices climbed as worries about Greece’s debt crisis triggered buying by investors looking for a safe place to park assets, while the softer dollar also helped underpin sentiment. [GOL/]

* Copper rose to its highest in three weeks, reversing the previous session’s losses, as a weaker dollar boosted prices. [MET/L]

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Intellipharmaceutics International Inc I.TO: The pharmaceutical company said two units of AstraZeneca PLC filed a patent infringement lawsuit against the company over its generic Seroquel drug. [ID:nN26268314]

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Churchill Corp CUQ.TO price target cut to C$23 from C$26 at CIBC

* CIBC (CM.TO) rating cut to sector perform from outperform at National Bank

* Financial Groupe Aeroplan Inc AER.TO price target raised to C$16 from C$15.50, rating outperform at National Bank Financial; price target raised to C$16 from C$14 at CIBC

* Imperial Oil Ltd (IMO.TO) price target cut to C$48.50 from C$50 at CIBC

* TD Bank (TD.TO) price target cut to C$92 from C$93 at CIBC

$1= $0.98 Canadian Reporting by Anil Kumar; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson

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