August 16, 2012 / 12:12 PM / in 5 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open higher, miners in focus

Aug 16 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index looked set to open higher on Thursday, after hitting a one-month high on Wednesday. But investors are waiting for clues from major central banks on economic stimulus, so any gains could be limited.

Mining shares could be in focus after Barrick Gold said it was in talks with China National Gold Group Corp over its 74 percent stake in UK-listed unit African Barrick Gold. TOP STORIES

* China’s trade outlook for 2012 is worsening, darkened especially by growing problems in Europe, the Commerce Ministry said as it revealed the longest run of falling inward investment growth since the 2008-09 global crisis.

* Canadian mining major Barrick Gold is in talks to sell all or part of its 74 percent stake in African Barrick Gold to China’s largest gold producer, just two years after it spun off the underperforming Tanzanian assets.

* Growth in Germany’s exports will halve to 4 percent this year due to the recession in the euro zone, the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce said.

* BHP Billiton said jobs could go at its Australian coal mines as the market weakens, the latest sign of global miners scaling back operations due to slowing industrial activity in China.

* Wal-Mart Stores Inc said full-year earnings could fall short of Wall Street expectations, even as the world’s largest retailer posted a bigger-than-expected jump in quarterly profit.

MARKET SNAPSHOT

* Canada stock futures traded up 0.34 percent

* U.S. stock futures , , were up around 0.05 percent to 0.13 percent

* European shares, were down

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 301.83; rose 0.04 percent

* Gold futures : $1,604; rose 0.02 percent

* US crude : $94.37; rose 0.04 percent

* Brent crude : $116.32; rose 0.06 percent

* LME 3-month copper : $7,393.25; rose 0.1 percent

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Agrium Inc. : Activist investor Jana Partners LLC, the biggest shareholder in the fertilizer company, chastised the company in a private meeting on Wednesday over a recent change in how it compares its retail performance against other companies.

* Encana Corporation : A high-pressure burst of natural gas at a well operated by the energy giant in Colorado killed one man and injured three other workers on Wednesday, the company and local authorities said.

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Ag Growth International : NBF raises to sector perform from underperform on expectations of robust demand for short line agricultural equipment and storage, but cuts target to C$31 from C$32.50 on cautious 2012 outlook

* Crocodile Gold : Raymond James raises to outperform from market perform, says expects gold production to increase and costs to decline, but cuts target to C$0.80 from C$0.90 on valuation

* H&R REIT : CIBC raises target to C$29 from C$26.50 after the company reported second-quarter FFO above CIBC’s estimates

* Hudbay Minerals Inc. : Canaccord Genuity raises price target to C$11 from C$10.50 to reflect the forecast project growth from Lalor Lake and Constancia in 2014 and 2015

* Labrador Iron Mines Holdings : Canaccord Genuity cuts price target C$6 from C$7.50 after the company reported lower-than-expected first quarter results, says weak iron ore market will bring forward financing requirement

ON THE CALENDAR

* Major Canadian economic data includes manufacturing sales

* Major U.S. events and data includes housing starts and initial claims

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