January 17, 2011 / 1:59 PM / in 7 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX set to open lower on easing commodity prices

Jan 17 (Reuters) - Canadian stocks looked set to open weaker on Monday as a stronger U.S. dollar pushed commodity prices lower, with the U.S. public holiday expected to keep trading volumes light.

FACTORS TO WATCH

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

* European equities inched higher in cautious trade on Monday, with investors buying defensive shares such as pharmaceuticals and telecoms ahead of a meeting of finance ministers to increase the euro zone’s rescue fund. [.EU]

* Asian stocks were mixed with Japan’s Nikkei giving up gains as investors snapped up profits on recent climbers, prompted by a slump in Chinese equities after China raised reserve requirements for banks.

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* Oil slipped on Monday while the dollar strengthened and equities faltered as OPEC said the market was well supplied and inventories should build in the first half of the year. [O/R]

* Gold steadied around $1,360 an ounce on Monday, stabilizing after posting a second successive weekly fall last week, as a stronger dollar tempered some of the gains made from consumer demand for bullion. [GOL/]

* Base metals fell on Monday as hopes for quick action from European policymakers to boost a euro zone rescue fund faded, while the physical market was quiet ahead of the Lunar New Year. [MET/L]

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Baffinland Iron Mines Corp BIM.TO on Monday advised its shareholders to accept the joint C$590 million bid from ArcelorMittal ISPA.AS and Nunavut Iron. [ID:nN17276746]

* Ivanhoe Energy Inc. IE.TO: The heavy oil producer said on Monday it discovered natural gas at a third well at its Zitong exploration block in the Sichuan Province in China. [ID:nSGE70G08T].

* Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO): The independent oil explorer does not know when production at its Horizon facility will resume as it has still not been able to assess the damage from a fire eleven days ago, vice-chairman John Langille said. [ID:nWLA2939].

* Crocotta Energy Inc. CTA.TO: The oil and natural gas company said on Monday production of light oil and natural gas liquids is expected to more than double. [ID:nSGE70G08R]

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Azure Dynamics AZD.TO price target raised to C$0.50 from C$0.45 at Raymond James

* Baffinland Iron Mines Corp BIM.TO price target raised to C$1.50 from C$1.40 at Raymond James

* Baytex Energy (BTE.TO) target price raised to C$54 from C$52; rating buy at TD Newcrest

* Copper Mountain Mining Corp CUM.TO price target raised to C$7 from C$5 at Raymond James

* Paladin Labs PLB.TO price target raised to C$36 from C$29; rating hold at TD Newcrest

* TransGlobe Apartment REIT TGA_u.TO coverage started with buy rating; target price of C$11.50 at Canaccord Genuity

$1= $0.99 Canadian Reporting by Karan Khemani and Bangalore Newsroom; editing by Jeffrey Hodgson

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