April 6, 2011 / 12:35 PM / in 7 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX set to open higher on strong metal, oil prices

April 6 (Reuters) - Toronto’s resource-heavy main stock index looked set to open higher on Wednesday, with the mining sector in the spotlight after gold rallied to a record high and copper prices rose to the highest in about a week.

FACTORS TO WATCH

* Canadian equity futures <0#SXF:> pointed to a higher open.

* Futures on the S&P 500 hit their highest level in more than a month as investors bet the upcoming earnings season and more merger activity will continue to lift equities higher. [.N]

* European equities drifted lower after hitting four-week highs, with EDF (EDF.PA) dragging down utilities following a target price cut, while banks fell on worries about the euro zone’s debt crisis. [.EU]

* Asian markets were mixed with Shanghai breaching the key 3000 resistance level while the Nikkei fell to a one-week closing low, losing ground for a second straight day as concerns grew about mounting production losses for quake-hit manufacturers.

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities benchmark, rose 0.98 percent in early trade.

* Oil prices stayed near a 2-year peak supported by widespread unrest in the Middle East and North Africa and dollar weakness ahead of Europe’s central bank rate decision on Thursday. [O/R]

* Gold rallied to a second consecutive record high, powered by a slide in the dollar and by investor demand for safe-haven assets, while silver hit fresh 31-year peaks. [GOL/]

* Copper rose to its highest in about a week, as the euro scaled multi-month highs against the dollar and on prospects of better commodity imports data from top consumer China. [MET/L]

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Sandvine Corp. SVC.TO: The company reported a first-quarter loss on a 9 percent rise in expenses. [ID:nL3E7F61TV].

* Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO): The lender said Mark Furlong will become the CEO of BMO Harris Bank N.A. and Ellen Costello would continue as the CEO of the firm’s American bank holding company, BMO Financial Corp. [ID:nL3E7F538K]

* Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX.TO): Cephalon Inc on Tuesday rejected an unsolicited, $5.7 billion acquisition bid by Valeant and Valeant sought to replace the U.S. biopharmaceutical company’s board of directors. [ID:nN05162826]

* Alamos Gold Inc. (AGI.TO); The company’s quarterly gold production fell 10 percent due to lower output at its flagship Mulatos mine in Mexico. [ID:nL3E7F61KX].

* Extract Resources EXT.TO: The company chairman Steve Galloway said on Wednesday that its key Husab uranium project in Namibia should generate $1 billion a year and it should come online in the first quarter of 2014. [ID:nLDE7350TP].

* Forzani Group Ltd. FGL.TO: The retailer posted a higher fourth-quarter profit, as cold weather boosted sales of winter products, but the company said same-store sales are down so far this quarter. [ID:nL3E7F539G].

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters. [RCH/CA]

* Anderson Energy AXL.TO price target cut to C$1.25 from C$1.30 at National Bank

* Angle Energy NGL.TO price target raised to C$12.25 from C$11.25 at National Bank

* Artek Exploration Ltd RTK.TO price target raised to C$3.75 from C$3; rating outperform at National Bank

* Bellamont Exploration Ltd BMXa.TO price target cut to C$0.85 from C$0.90 at National Bank

* Bellatrix Exploration Ltd BXE.TO price target cut to C$7.50 from C$8 at National Bank

* Birchcliff Energy Ltd (BIR.TO) price target cut to C$12.75 from C$13.25 at National Bank

* Celtic Exploration Ltd CLT.TO price target cut to C$24.75 from C$25 at National Bank

* Cequence Energy Ltd (CQE.TO) price target cut to C$4.25 from C$4.50 at National Bank

* Crew Energy CR.TO price target cut to C$23.75 from C$25 at National Bank

* Delphi Energy (DEE.TO) price target cut to C$2.60 from C$2.75 at National Bank

* Insignia Energy Ltd ISN.TO price target cut to C$2.50 from C$2.55 at National Bank

* Nuvista Energy NVA.TO price target cut to C$11 from C$11.50 at National Bank

* Sulliden Exploration SUE.TO price target cut to C$3.20 from C$3.30 at Raymond James

$1= $0.96 Canadian Reporting by Kishan Nair, editing by Jeffrey Hodgson

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