May 31, 2010 / 1:01 PM / in 7 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open higher on commodity prices

May 31 (Reuters) - Toronto’s resource-heavy main stock index could open higher on Monday, helped by firm commodity prices, but trade is expected to be subdued as the U.S. and U.K markets remain closed for a holiday.

In economic news, strong consumer spending and exports helped Canada’s economy expand in the first quarter at the fastest rate in more than a decade, fueling expectations the Bank of Canada will hike interest rates on Tuesday. [ID:nN31202447]

But investors could be cautious after China warned that Europe’s struggle to contain ballooning debt posed a risk to global economic growth, raising the spectre of a double-dip recession. [MKTS/GLOB]

Markets in Europe pared gains after data showed euro zone economic sentiment defied market expectations of a small gain and fell sharply in May, indicating that the region’s debt crisis has begun affecting the real economy.

Asian stocks ended mixed.

Here is some news that could affect stock prices:

OIL UP

Oil rose above $74 on Monday in line with a timid recovery across financial markets, but was set for its biggest monthly loss in 18 months after European economic crisis raised the prospect of reduced fuel demand. [O/R]

COPPER EASES

Shanghai copper prices fell 1 percent on Monday, ending the month 6 percent lower after London futures saw their weakest monthly performance since January on worries about euro zone debt. [MET/L]

GOLD UP

Gold regained some ground on Monday, pushed around by a volatile euro, with worries about Europe’s debt woes underpinning sentiment after Fitch downgraded Spain’s credit rating. [GOL/]

BOMBARDIER SIGNS MONORAIL SYSTEM CONTRACT

Bombardier Inc (BBDb.TO) on Monday signed a contract worth $241 million to supply, install, operate and maintain a monorail system in Saudi Arabia. [ID:nWNAB4806]

CROCODILE GOLD TO START PRODUCTION

Crocodile Gold Corp CRK.TO said on Monday commercial production at its Union Reefs mill in Australia will begin on Tuesday, as target throughput, grades and recoveries are now being met on a consistent basis. [ID:nSGE64U0FF]

SUNCOR EXPECTS TO RAISE CLOSE TO $500 MLN

Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO), Canada’s biggest oil and gas company, expects to raise close to $500 million from the sale of its Dutch subsidiary, to be decided by the end of June, a source close to the company said on Friday. [ID:nLDE64R12Y]

ALTAGAS INKS 60-YEAR POWER PURCHASE PACT

Energy infrastructure firm AltaGas Income Trust ALA_u.TO said on Friday it signed a 60-year electricity purchase agreement with British Columbia’s provincially owned electrical utility BC Hydro for AltaGas’ Forrest Kerr project. [ID:nSGE64R0F0]

GARDA WORLD PROFIT JUMPS

Garda World Security Corp GW.TO on Friday posted a quarterly profit that more than doubled, helped by lower expenses. [ID:nSGE64R09J]

RESEARCH ROUNDUP

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

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

* Athabasca Oil (ATH.TO) started with outperform rating and price target of $17 at Raymond James

* Mullen Group (MTL.TO) rating raised to outperform from sector perform at National Bank

* Parex Resources PXT.V price target cut to $5 from $6; rating outperform at Raymond James

$1=$1.05 Canadian Reporting by Bangalore newsroom, editing by Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay and Jeffrey Hodgson

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