April 12, 2012 / 1:12 PM / 6 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open higher in cautious trade

April 12 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index looked set to edge higher at the open on Thursday in cautious trade, with concern about Europe’s debt crisis rising after Italy’s three-year borrowing costs rose more than a percentage point.

FACTORS TO WATCH

* Canadian equity futures pointed to a higher open.

* U.S. stock index futures pared gains after data showed new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose to their highest level since January, heightening worry about a stalled labor market recovery.

* Europe’s top shares were lower by midday with banks paring gains as a sharp rise in Italy’s borrowing costs provided a further sign markets are not convinced that Europe is on top of its debt problems.

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, a global commodities benchmark, rose 0.18 percent in early trade.

* Brent crude oil steadied around $120 per barrel, supported by a weaker dollar and hopes of faster economic growth, despite news of higher oil production by Saudi Arabia and a fairly bearish report from the IEA energy advisory body.

* Gold eased for a second day in a row, but was still set for its largest weekly gain in six weeks, thanks to the toll the re-emergence of the euro zone debt crisis has taken on investor risk appetite.

* Copper rose about 1 percent as risk appetite improved and the euro strengthened after a European Central Bank official suggested the bank was ready to purchase more debt, easing some worries about a debt crisis affecting the euro zone.

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Cogeco Cable Inc. : The main unit of media and telecom company posted a lower second-quarter profit from continuing operations, hurt in part by an increase in depreciation and amortization costs.

* TransCanada Corp. : The Nebraska Legislature approved a bill on Wednesday that would provide support for an expected new route for the pipeline company’s Canada-to-Texas Keystone XL crude oil pipeline that would bypass an environmentally sensitive region in the state.

* Centamin Plc. : The Egypt-focused miner said gold production at its flagship mine in Egypt was marginally below its estimates despite a strike in the first quarter.

* Talison Lithium : The lithium producer’s third-quarter sales rose 15 percent, helped by higher output.

* Lundin Mining : The miner said it entered into an option agreement with the owners of the Touro copper project in northern Spain, enabling it to buy an 80 percent stake in the project for 60 million euros.

* Taseko Mines : The miner said copper production at its Gibraltar mine fell 6 percent sequentially, as mill throughput was hit by bad weather and the company had to process ore from harder-than-average parts of the granite pit.

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Canexus Corp. : CIBC raises price target to C$9 from C$8.50

* Dollarama Inc. : Barclays raises target to C$55 from C$49, rating overweight; CIBC raises price target to C$59 from C$48

* Iona Energy : NBF resumes coverage with outperform, target price C$1.25

* Premier Gold Mines : CIBC starts with sector performer rating, C$7.50 price target

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