April 25 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index looked set to open higher on Wednesday, helped by encouraging U.S. economic data and stronger-than-expected earnings from some companies including Potash Corp Saskatchewan Inc.
* Potash Corp reported a 13 percent rise in first-quarter profit on strong shipments. Its net profit rose to $556 million, or 63 cents per share, from $491 million, or 56 cents per share, a year earlier. The stock rose in pre-market trading.
* The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week, offering reassurance that the bottom is not falling out of the labor market despite signs of slower growth.
* Precision Drilling Corp reported a 16 percent decline in first-quarter earnings, as depressed natural gas prices prompted customers to cut back on drilling in North America.
* Verizon Communications hired advisers to prepare a possible $100 billion cash and stock bid to take full control of Verizon Wireless from joint venture partner Vodafone Group Plc, two people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
* Biogen Idec reported stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings, helped by unusually low taxes and sales growth of its treatments for multiple sclerosis.
* The Dow Chemical Co reported a 33 percent jump in quarterly profit, helped by higher sales of its seeds and crop-protection chemicals and lower raw material costs.
* Canada stock futures traded up 0.07 percent
* U.S. stock futures , , were up around 0.35 percent to 0.42 percent
* European shares, were up
* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 284.7084; rose 0.46 percent
* Gold futures : $1,444.3; rose 1.47 percent
* US crude : $91.71; rose 0.31 percent
* Brent crude : $102.08; rose 0.34 percent
* LME 3-month copper : $7,094.5; rose 0.92 percent
* Open Text Corp : The Canadian business software maker reported a 25 percent rise in third-quarter adjusted profit as its cloud-based services business expanded, and the company initiated a quarterly dividend of 30 Canadian cents per share.
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters.
* Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp : Canaccord Genuity cuts to hold from buy on valuation citing share price recovery since their decline beginning in the second half of March, says the share price is now at the target price.
* Barrick Gold Corp : Canaccord Genuity cuts price target to $23 from $31 following the company’s first-quarter results citing funding concerns given the recent pullback in gold price.
* Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd : Canaccord Genuity raises price target to C$111 from C$104 after the company reported better-than-expected first-quarter results, continues to forecast strong earnings growth through 2016.
* Discovery Air Inc : Canaccord Genuity cuts price target to C$3 from C$3.50 citing weaker margins after the company posted disappointing fourth-quarter results, says high fixed costs are likely to continue to hurt profitability.
* No major Canadian economic data scheduled
* Major U.S. events and data includes initial and continuing claims