March 7 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index looked set to open higher on Friday as a better-than-expected reading on U.S. employment data for February offset an unexpectedly weak Canadian jobs report.
* U.S. job growth rose more than expected in February, which could ease fears of an abrupt slowdown in economic growth and keep the Federal Reserve on track in reducing its monetary stimulus.
* Canada’s economy unexpectedly lost 7,000 jobs in February, as declines in part-time positions and in the public sector outweighed gains in full-time and private sector work, Statistics Canada data indicated on Friday.
* The Canadian government said on Thursday it would take action to address a lack of rail capacity that has led to a backlog of grain shipments, with two top ministers set to provide details on Friday.
* President Vladimir Putin rebuffed a warning from U.S. President Barack Obama over Moscow’s military intervention in Crimea, saying that Russia could not ignore calls for help from Russian speakers in Ukraine.
* Canadian regulators on Thursday approved Enbridge Inc’s Line 9 oil pipeline reversal and expansion, conditional on the country’s largest pipeline company undertaking additional work on consultation and safety.
* Canada stock futures traded higher
* U.S. stock futures , , were moderately up
* European shares, were down
* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 308.7473; rose 0.15 percent
* Gold futures : $1,348.3; fell 0.25 percent
* US crude : $101.84; rose 0.28 percent
* Brent crude : $108.17; rose 0.06 percent
* LME 3-month copper : $6,895.25; fell 2.2 percent
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters.
* Canadian Western Bank : National Bank Financial raises price target to C$42 from C$41, says the company’s superior loan growth outlook is adequately reflected in the shares
* Secure Energy Services Inc : RBC raises to outperform from sector perform and raises target price to C$21 from C$20 citing the company’s strong fourth-quarter results and dividend increase
* Tahoe Resources Inc : RBC raises price target to C$29 from C$28 based on the company’s low-cost silver production, proven management team and expected strong free cash flow from its Escobal project
* Trinidad Drilling Ltd : RBC raises price target to C$14 from C$13 on the company’s in-line fourth-quarter results
* Major Canadian data include trade and employment
* Major U.S. data includes non-farm payrolls, international trade and consumer credit