August 3, 2012 / 12:42 PM / in 5 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX set to open higher after U.S. jobs data

Aug 3 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index looked set to open higher on Friday after data showed U.S. employers in July hired the most workers in five months, but an increase in the jobless rate was seen keeping expectations of additional monetary stimulus from the Federal Reserve intact.

TOP STORIES

* Nonfarm payrolls rose 163,000 last month, the Labor Department said on Friday, beating economists expectations for a 100,000 gain. The report was dimmed somewhat by the increase in the jobless rate from 8.2 percent in June, even as more people gave up the search for work.

* Europe’s biggest economies endured another torrid month in July as businesses battled slumping demand, according to surveys on Friday that gave scant hope the region will emerge any time soon from a malaise induced by a paralyzing debt crisis.

* North America’s biggest farm retail supplier Agrium Inc reported a 20 percent increase in quarterly profit late on Thursday as demand for crop inputs remained strong.

* Procter & Gamble Co posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit despite a drop in sales, just weeks after the world’s largest household products maker took the blame for its disappointing performance and said it was focusing on ways to improve.

* Financial services company GMP Capital Inc reported a second-quarter loss as the European debt crisis weighed on capital markets and said equity underwriting has slowed considerably.

MARKET SNAPSHOT

* Canada stock futures traded up 0.55 percent

* U.S. stock futures , , were up around 0.8 percent to 1.0 percent

* European shares, were up

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 295.36; rose 0.29 percent

* Gold futures : $1,596.2; rose 0.55 percent

* US crude : $87.99; rose 0.99 percent

* Brent crude : $106.29; rose 0.37 percent

* LME 3-month copper : $7,324.75; fell 0.07 percent

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. : The company on Thursday reported higher earnings excluding a tax credit and said it is looking into how to take advantage of new ownership rules that allow greater foreign participation in smaller telecoms like itself.

* Sierra Wireless Inc. : The company posted a second-quarter profit, aided by strong sales at its mobile computing division and a recent acquisition.

* Smart Technologies Inc. : The company’s first-quarter profit plunged 93 percent on a weak education market in North America and Europe.

* Mercer International Inc. : The pulp producer reported a nearly 90 percent fall in its second-quarter profit on lower pulp prices and lower demand from China.

* Russel Metals Inc. : The steel product maker’s second-quarter profit fell 26 percent on higher costs.

* Silvercorp Metals : The miner posted a lower first-quarter profit as production fell and the company was not able to realize higher silver prices.

* Telus Corp. : A U.S. hedge fund stepped up its battle with Telus Corp on Thursday, calling for a meeting of holders of the company’s voting shares to prevent it from revisiting a failed plan to consolidate its two classes of stock on a one-for-one basis.

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Centerra Gold : CIBC cuts price target to C$21 from C$26 after the company reported weak second-quarter production

* First Quantum Minerals : Raymond James raises price target to C$20 from C$19 after the company reported better-than-expected earnings

* Gildan Activewear : NBF raises price target to C$36 from C$32 after the company reported third-quarter results in-line with estimates and reiterated its 2012 outlook

* IGM Financial : Barclays cuts price target to C$39 from C$41, CIBC cuts price target to C$43 from C$45, Canaccord Genuity cuts price target to C$39 from C$43 after the company reporting earnings short of expectations

* Inter Pipeline Fund : NBF cuts to sector perform from outperform on comparing returns to the group average.

ON THE CALENDAR

* No major Canadian economic data scheduled for release

* Major U.S. events and data includes non-farm payrolls and ISM non-manufacturing index

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