TORONTO, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index is expected to fall at the open on Monday ahead of a vote for the U.S. economic stimulus package and as a highly anticipated announcement for the U.S. bank rescue plan was delayed.
The proposed massive stimulus plan could face another day of political wrangling before a U.S. Senate vote on the measure, pressuring U.S. stock futures which indicated a lower open for U.S. equities.
The U.S. government was also due to set out a bank bailout plan on Monday but the announcement will instead now be held on Tuesday.
Resource-related issues will also be in the spotlight as companies suspend payouts, mull mergers and acquisitions, and cut jobs.
The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed higher for a fourth straight session on Friday in a broad rally as dismal U.S. jobs data fueled hopes for a U.S. stimulus package to help combat the recession.
Below is some of the news that may affect the market.
UTS REJECTS TOTAL‘S OFFER
The board of oil sands developer UTS Energy UTS.TO rejected a C$617 million takeover bid from French oil major Total SA, saying the offer was inadequate. A special committee of the board to pursue various initiatives has been created, the company said. [ID:nWNAB0132]
Contract driller Precision Drilling Trust PD_u.TO said that it would suspend its monthly distribution and that it would keep its capital expenditures at “efficient levels” in 2009. Earnings per share for the fourth quarter was flat at 71 Canadian cents. [ID:nN09515744]
* See also: Precision announces offering of trust units [ID:nWNAB0050]
* See: Bonterra BNE.TO to cut January dividend [ID:nWNAB0109]
Quadra Mining QUA.TO said it has agreed to buy Centenario Copper CCT.TO in a stock deal, valued at about C$57 million, to boost its copper production. [ID:nBNG188937]
* See also: Centenario announces highlights of new mine plan [ID:nWNAB9995]
Gold dipped as hopes the Obama administration’s stimulus plan will boost U.S. growth took the heat out of safe-haven buying. [ID:nL9216282]
Copper rose, aluminium prices dipped, and nickel was steady. [ID:nL9238389]
* See also: Xstrata PLC restructures Sudbury nickel operations, cuts 686 jobs [ID:nL9216150]
Oil ticked above $40 a barrel as expectations of the U.S. economic stimulus package balanced signs of declining oil demand. [ID:nSYD420106]
Lignol Energy Corp LEC.V said that it was suspending its joint venture with Suncor Energy (SU.TO) to develop a cellulosic ethanol commercial demonstration plant in Colorado due to the instability of energy prices, uncertainty in the capital markets and general market malaise. [ID:nN09296742]
Specialty insurer Kingsway Financial (KFS.TO) said it expects to record a fourth-quarter loss. It also said it plans to exit or sell non-core lines and reaffirmed its corporate restructuring plan. [ID:nWNAB0133]
SCOTIABANK SHARES COULD HIT C$36 IN 2 YRS-BARRON‘S
Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) is a big lender that is also mostly free of the woes afflicting its peers south of the border, according to Barron‘s. Even without much of a pickup in lending, its shares could generate a total return of 20-25 percent in the next 24-30 months. Scotiabank closed at C$30.58 on Friday. [ID:nN08462056]
Genuity Capital Markets began coverage of Viterra Inc VT.TO with a “buy” rating, citing the Canadian grain company’s robust fundamentals, despite economic challenges, and a strong balance sheet. [ID:nBNG153505]
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters. For more, please double click [RCH/CA]
* Genuity cuts Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) to sell from hold
* Raymond James raises Research in Motion RIM.TO price target; rating outperform
* RBC raises, UBS cuts Centerra Gold (CG.TO) price target
* Canaccord Adams raises Methanex (MX.TO) to hold from sell
$1=$1.23 Canadian Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; Editing by Tom Hals