February 22, 2013 / 1:33 PM / in 5 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open higher on positive German business data

Feb 22 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index looked set to open higher on Friday, breaking a losing streak and mirroring its U.S. and European counter parts, as better-than-expected German business sentiment cheered investors.

TOP STORIES

* Canadian consumer prices are expected to have risen in January after two months of declines, but the annual inflation rate will ease to a three-year low of 0.7 percent, likely keeping the central bank on the sidelines throughout 2013.

* German business morale surged at its fastest pace in over two years in February, pushing higher for a fourth consecutive month and pointing to a solid recovery in Europe’s largest economy after a dismal end to 2012.

* Banks will repay the European Central Bank 61.1 billion euros in the second of two 3-year loans they took a year ago, handing back less than expected in a sign much of the euro zone financial system is still reliant on ECB funds.

* Eldorado reported on Friday a boost in fourth quarter profit, as increased gold sales outweighed higher operating costs.

* Agrium Inc reported a record profit for the fourth quarter on Thursday, handily beating expectations due to higher demand for crop protection products and fertilizer from farmers, ahead of a proxy battle with its largest shareholder.

MARKET SNAPSHOT

* Canada stock futures traded up 0.1 percent

* U.S. stock futures , , were up around 0.45 percent

* European shares, were up

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 294.5309; rose 0.31 percent

* Gold futures : $1,578.4; rose 0.01 percent

* US crude : $93.17; rose 0.36 percent

* Brent crude : $114.52; rose 0.87 percent

* LME 3-month copper : $7,857; fell 0.05 percent

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Osisko Mining Corp : The gold miner’s fourth-quarter adjusted net earnings rose 68 percent as gold production jumped by a quarter as production costs fell.

* Inmet Mining Corp : The base metal miner reported a 17 percent drop in quarterly profit on Thursday as foreign exchange losses and other costs offset stronger operating results.

* Western Energy Services Corp : The Canadian contract driller said it would buy IROC Energy Services Corp for about C$157 million in cash and stock, gaining an entry into the oilfield equipment rental business.

* Toronto-Dominion Bank : The bank cut the pay of its CEO by 4.4 percent in 2012 due to costs related to litigation reserves taken by the bank and other performance factors, TD said on Thursday.

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Alamos Gold Inc : BMO raises to outperform from market perform citing the company’s low cash cost profile and free cash flow generating ability.

* Osisko Mining Corp : Canaccord Genuity raises to buy from hold based on the company’s relative valuation and implied return due to recent share price weakness.

* Hudbay Minerals Inc : Canaccord Genuity cuts target price to C$10 from C$12 after the company reported lower-than-expected fourth-quarter results.

* Stantec Inc <STN.TO: Canaccord Genuity raises target price to C$44.50 from C$41.50, says the company has a consistent strategy, no lack of opportunities to drive revenue and earnings growth and a long track record of very consistent execution.

* Bellatrix Exploration Ltd : Canaccord Genuity raises target price to C$9 from C$8 to reflect the company’s increased reserves, significant valuation discount and production growth profile.

ON THE CALENDAR

* Major Canadian economic data includes consumer price inflation

* No major U.S. events and data scheduled for release

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