Feb 20 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index futures pointed to a slightly lower open on Wednesday, ahead of the minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee’s January meeting which will offer clues on the central bank’s monetary thinking.
* BHP Billiton Ltd appointed the head of its non-ferrous business as its CEO to replace Marius Kloppers, the fourth global miner this year to change its top brass as the industry enters a new era of austerity.
* Credit Agricole posted a 6.5 billion-euro full-year loss - the worst since the French bank went public in 2001 - as taxes on the sale of its Greek unit pushed the bank deeper than expected into the red.
* Alberta’s current-year deficit may balloon to as much as C$4 billion, more than four times the initial forecast, due to a deep discount on the Western Canadian province’s oil and the strong Canadian dollar, the government said on Tuesday.
* Dish Network Corp, the second-largest U.S. satellite TV company after DirecTV, reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit and added fewer pay-TV subscribers than analysts had expected. [ID: nL4N0BK3VD]
* Dell Inc on Tuesday reported a 31 percent drop in profit, hurt by a shrinking consumer business, as investors weighed founder Michael Dell’s offer to buy out the world’s No.3 maker of personal computers.
* Canada stock futures traded down 0.04 percent
* U.S. stock futures , , were mixed around -0.03 percent to 0.01 percent
* European shares, were mixed
* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 298.8934; rose 0.01 percent
* Gold futures : $1,591.4; fell 0.76 percent
* US crude : $96.77; rose 0.11 percent
* Brent crude : $117.06; fell 0.39 percent
* LME 3-month copper : $8,031.75; fell 0.23 percent
* First Majestic Silver Corp : The company said it would not match a rival offer made by Coeur d’Alene Mines Corp for Orko Silver Corp. It had been competing with the U.S. silver miner to gain control of Orko’s Mexico-based La Preciosa project and had to match the offer by Tuesday.
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters.
* Dundee Precious Metals Inc : RBC cuts target price to C$12 from C$13 on valuation changes to production estimates and cost assumptions
* Fortress Paper Ltd : Canaccord Genuity raises to buy from hold and raises price target to C$11 from C$9 after the company announced the appointment of Yvon Pelletier as President of its dissolving pulp operations that have struggled to ramp to full operating rates
* Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Ltd : Canaccord Genuity cuts to hold from buy, cuts target to C$40 from C$42, says the company’s offer to issue 6 million shares at a 3 percent discount to yesterday’s close is surprising and opportunistic
* Keegan Resources Inc : Canaccord Genuity cuts target price to C$5.50 from C$7 after PMI Gold and Keegan Resources terminated the arrangement agreement to merge
* Parex Resources Inc : RBC cuts to sector perform from outperform, cuts price target to C$6.50 from C$7.50, says despite the company’s material reserves increase, it is trading above its core value
* No major Canadian economic data scheduled for release
* Major U.S. events and data includes producer prices, housing and building permits and FOMC minutes