September 7, 2011 / 12:32 PM / in 6 years

TSX may rise ahead of Bank of Canada rate decision

Sept 7 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index looked set to open higher on Wednesday ahead of the Bank of Canada’s rate decision as stronger-than-expected data on the U.S. services sector and Australian growth boosted investor confidence.

FACTORS TO WATCH

* Canadian equity futures <0#SXF:> pointed to a higher open ahead of a Bank of Canada policy announcement that is expected to sound more dovish than the central bank’s July communique.

* U.S. stock index futures rose after a three-day equities decline, on hopes that the European debt crisis might ease. [.N]

* European shares rose sharply, bouncing from a two-year closing low, after a late Wall Street rally on stronger-than-expected services sector data. [.EU]

* Markets in Asia were up with the Nikkei climbing 2 percent on short-covering after three days of losses. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ To receive an early e-mail of Reuters Morning News Call - Canada -- a preview of market moving news -- Thomson Reuters subscribers can register at [CA/MNC] ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities benchmark, rose 0.44 percent in early trade.

* Oil rose to just over $113 a barrel, underpinned by expectations of lower U.S. crude stocks after a storm disrupted production in the Gulf of Mexico, and optimism about a new support package for the U.S. economy. [O/R]

* Gold prices fell more than 1 percent in Europe after a volatile session in Asia, as a sharp rally in stock markets prompted skittish investors to cash in gains after the precious metal’s rally to record highs in the previous session. [GOL/]

* Copper prices rose as labour disputes at mines threatened supplies and the dollar slipped, but nervousness about demand from top consumers China and the United States curbed gains. [MET/L]

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX.TO): African Barrick Gold, a unit of the gold miner Barrick Gold said it was planning to cross-list on the country’s bourse by the end of this year. [ID:nL5E7K70OU]

* Rogers Communications Inc. (RCIb.TO): The cable-TV, publishing and telecommunications company is applying to Canadian authorities to open its own banking unit, enabling the telecommunications company to offer its own credit cards. [ID:nN1E76O1QC]

* Encana Corp. (ECA.TO): The natural gas producer said its U.S. unit has agreed to sell a part of its natural gas midstream assets in Colorado to a private midstream company for about $590 million. [ID:nL3E7K71UQ]

* Viterra Inc. VT.TO: The grain handler’s quarterly profit nearly doubled amid record grain shipments through ports in Australia, it said. [ID:nN1E7850X8]

* Major Drilling Group International Inc.(MDI.TO): The provider of contract drilling services said on Tuesday its quarterly earnings more than tripled as demand for its drilling services soared along with a surge in both precious-metal and base-metal prices. [ID:nN1E7851LB]

* Mosaid Technologies MSD.TO: The company asked shareholders to reject a hostile, C$480 million takeover bid from WiLan Inc WIN.TO after the patent licensing company’s board said the offer was inadequate. [ID:nN1E7851UU]

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Bellatrix Exploration Ltd (BXE.TO) target price raised to C$8 from C$7.50; rating outperform at National Bank

* Evertz Technologies ET.TO rating raised to outperform from market perform at Raymond James

* Open Range Energy Corp ONR.TO price target raised to C$9.50 from C$6.50 at Raymond James

* Precision Drilling Corp (PD.TO) price target cut to C$19.50 from C$20 at TD Securities

$1= $0.99 Canadian Reporting by Karan Khemani; Editing by Frank McGurty

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