CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open higher, Fed meeting eyed
March 20 (Reuters) - Canadian main stock index futures pointed to a higher open as investors shifted their focus from Cyprus's financial woes to the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy meeting, where the central bank is expected to sustain its $85 billion monthly bond-buying stimulus despite improving economic data. TOP STORIES * Cyprus's finance minister pleaded with Russia for help to avert a financial meltdown after the island's parliament rejected the terms of a European bailout, raising the specter of a looming default and bank crash. * The Federal Reserve looks set to sustain its $85 billion monthly bond-buying stimulus despite improving U.S. economic data as a new flare-up in the euro zone crisis reminds officials of a risky global environment. * British Finance Minister George Osborne faces the daunting task of delivering another austerity budget to a country impatient with near-zero growth. * Alamos Gold Inc dropped its offer to buy peer Aurizon Mines Ltd, putting an end to its bidding war with Hecla Mining Co. * Freddie Mac, the U.S. mortgage finance company, is suing more than a dozen banks for losses from the alleged manipulation of the benchmark interest rate known as Libor.MARKET SNAPSHOT * Canada stock futures traded up 0.44 percent * U.S. stock futures , , were up around 0.3 percent * European shares, were up COMMODITY PRICE MOVES * Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 294.5424; rose 0.31 percent * Gold futures : $1,612.5; rose 0.07 percent * US crude : $92.8; rose 0.69 percent * Brent crude : $108.22; rose 0.72 percent * LME 3-month copper : $7,594.5; rose 0.86 percent CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH * Sprott Inc : Chinese gold miner Zijin Mining Group Co Ltd said it had agreed to set up an offshore investment fund with the company with a target size of $500 million. ANALYSTS' RECOMMENDATIONS Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters. * Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc : National Bank Financial cuts target price to C$58 from C$62 after the company reported positive quarterly earnings * Aurizon Mines Ltd : BMO cuts target price to C$4.50 from C$4.65, says Alamos Gold Inc's announcement to drop its hostile bid for the company will have a slightly negative impact * Lake Shore Gold Corp : RBC cuts target price to C$1 from C$1.70 to reflect ongoing operational uncertainty and execution risk associated with the company's Bell Creek Mine expansion and operational issues at the Timmins West Mine * Tourmaline Oil Corp : RBC raises target price to C$45 from C$40 as the company provided full-year 2012 financials which were as expected, given the fact that it pre-announced production with its year-end reserve report ON THE CALENDAR * No major Canadian economic data scheduled for release * Major U.S. events and data includes weekly mortgage market index
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