December 10, 2010 / 1:42 PM / in 7 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX set for higher open on boost from Chinese data

Dec 10 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index looked set to open higher on Friday, with resource-related companies in focus as strong Chinese economic data helped to support commodity prices.

FACTORS TO WATCH

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

* U.S. stock index futures rose following encouraging data out of China and as a two-year high in the S&P 500 had investors betting on a year-end rally. [.N]

* European stocks edged higher, on track to post their biggest weekly gain since early November, but the rise was limited by profit-taking in shares of financial institutions after a sharp 10-day rally. [.EU]

* Japanese stocks fell after a rise to a seven-month high earlier in the day prompted profit taking, although they outperformed the rest of Asia this week.

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities benchmark, rose 0.21 percent in early trade.

* Oil rose for a second day to trade close to $89 as Chinese crude imports rebounded, and the International Energy Agency raised its global oil demand forecast. [O/R]

* Gold was steady, having dipped briefly after China raised bank reserve requirements, as uncertainty over Europe’s fiscal health continued to attract investors to bullion. [GOL/]

* Copper rose, flirting with a record high from the previous session, after strong data out of top consumer China and news that its central bank opted for a milder form of monetary tightening boosted prices. [MET/L]

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Iamgold Corp. (IMG.TO): The mid-tier producer raised its annual dividend payment by 33 percent to 8 cents a share on Thursday, and forecast increased gold output in 2011. [ID:nN0995592]

* BCE Inc. (BCE.TO): The biggest communications company raised its annual dividend for 2011 by 7.7 percent to C$1.97 a share and plans to speed up the funding of future pension obligations through a voluntary prepayment. [ID:nSGE6B908F]

* Uni-Select Inc (UNS.TO): The auto parts distributor agreed to buy automotive paint company FinishMaster in a $217 million cash and debt deal on Thursday, as it advances an expansion drive that began in 1998, and said there may be more takeovers to come. [ID:nN09266753]

* Brookfield Office Properties BPO.TO: The company said on Thursday it has acquired a 53-storey office tower in Houston for $321.5 million. [ID:nN09270400]

* Harry Winston Diamond Corp. HW.TO: The diamond miner and retailer shifted to a profit on Thursday as demand in Asia continued to propel rough diamond sales and new stores boosted retail earnings. [ID:nN09225166]

* Lundin Mining Corp. (LUN.TO): The base metal producer said on Thursday it has curtailed operation at its Aguablanca Mine in the Extremadura region of Spain due to very heavy rains. [ID:nLDE6B906I]

* Forzani Group Ltd. FGL.TO: The sporting goods retailer reported on Thursday a 20 percent rise in quarterly net earnings, helped by stronger same-store sales and lower operating costs. [ID:nN09264477]

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* ADF Group Inc DRX.TO target price cut to C$2.25 from C$3; keeps outperform rating at Raymond James

* Calfrac Well Services Ltd (CFW.TO) price target raised to C$40 from C$35; keeps outperform rating at Raymond James

* Research In Motion RIM.TO target price raised to $75 from $70; keeps outperform rating at Raymond James

* Rocky Mountain Dealerships RME.TO target price raised to C$11.25 from C$10.75; keeps outperform rating at Raymond James

* Sino Forest TRE.TO coverage started with strong buy rating and C$35 target price at Raymond James

$1= $1.01 Canadian Reporting by Kishan Nair; Editing by by Jeffrey Hodgson

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