March 5, 2013 / 1:22 PM / 5 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open higher, c.banks seen keeping policy steady

March 5 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index futures pointed to a higher open as investors bet central banks would maintain an accommodative monetary policy this week.

TOP STORIES

* France, Spain and Italy dragged the euro zone into a deeper downturn in February, according to business surveys that showed the chasm between these countries and prosperous Germany widening yet again.

* Tension over the U.S. fiscal crisis eased on Monday as President Barack Obama called more opposition lawmakers to find a way to stop $85 billion in damaging budget cuts and congressional Republicans announced a plan to prevent a government shutdown.

* Bank of Nova Scotia said quarterly profit rose 13 percent, driven by acquisitions in its foreign and domestic segments, and it raised its dividend.

* Anadarko Petroleum Corp and an Indian billionaire have launched the auction of a 20 percent stake in a Mozambique gas field that could fetch $4.5 billion, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

* Standard Chartered notched up a tenth successive rise in annual profit with a 1 percent gain that was capped by the bank’s big fine for breaking U.S. sanctions on Iran and rising regulatory costs.

MARKET SNAPSHOT

* Canada stock futures traded up 0.31 percent

* U.S. stock futures , , were up around 0.3 percent

* European shares, were up

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 292.3703; rose 0.4 percent

* Gold futures : $1,582.2; rose 0.64 percent

* US crude : $90.39; rose 0.3 percent

* Brent crude : $110.7; rose 0.55 percent

* LME 3-month copper : $7,761.25; rose 0.47 percent

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Canada’s Competition Bureau has approved BCE Inc’s plan to acquire Astral Media Inc for C$3 billion, but the Bell parent’s offer to buy the media company must still pass muster with the telecommunications regulator.

Major Drilling Group International Inc : Growing caution gripping the mining industry is having a big impact on exploration service providers such as Major Drilling Inc , which posted a quarterly loss on Monday and offered little hope of an early turnaround

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters.

* Canadian National Railway : BMO raises target price to C$100 from C$96 to reflect a more buoyant outlook for Canadian crude-on-rail

* Canadian Oil Sands Ltd : RBC cuts target price to C$21 from C$22 as the company reported soft February Syncrude production that reflects lower reliability in Syncrude’s extraction units

* Capital Power : CIBC cuts rating to sector performer from sector outperformer following the company’s lower-than-expected fourth quarter results.

* Major Drilling Group International Inc : Salman Partners cuts price target to C$10.75 from C$13.00, says although the company reported better-than-expected results in the third quarter, risks have increased in 2014

* Vermilion Energy Inc : RBC raises target price to C$58 from C$52, says the company is well-positioned to execute a high yield growth model with a dividend stream that should grow in the future

ON THE CALENDAR

* No major Canadian economic data scheduled for release

* Major U.S. events and data includes ISM non-manufacturing index data

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