March 19, 2010 / 12:42 PM / in 8 years

CANADA STOCKS-Mixed open eyed for TSX; banks in focus

TORONTO, March 19 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index could open mixed on Friday as soft commodity prices pressure heavily weighted resource issues, while bank shares could get a lift after British lender Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L) said it would return to profitability this year.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE could take its cue from global markets, where European shares rose modestly on Friday, lifted by gains in banking stocks, but concerns over Greece’s large debt burden remained. [MKTS/GLOB] [.N]

Here is some news that could influence stock prices:

CANADA CORE INFLATION JUMPS

Canada’s annual core inflation rate unexpectedly rose above 2 percent in February, adding pressure on the Bank of Canada to raise interest rates later this year and pushing the currency higher. [ID:nN19500487]

C$ RISES AFTER CPI DATA

The Canadian dollar rose sharply on Friday after data showed Canada’s annual core inflation rate unexpectedly rose in February, increasing pressure on the Bank of Canada to raise interest rates. [CAD/]

NEXEN INC NXY.TO

Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) and Canadian oil explorer Nexen Inc said they had made a “significant” discovery in the Gulf of Mexico, the latest in a string of big finds in the Gulf in the past year. [ID:nLDE62I10G]

CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAY CO (CNR.TO)

Canadian National Railway Co obtains resolution of labour issues with locomotive engineers in Canada. [ID:nWNAB1524]

AFRICAN BARRICK GOLD (ABX.TO) ABGL.L

African Barrick Gold priced its initial public offering (IPO) at 575 pence per share, at the bottom end of the 550 pence to 650 pence range, ahead of the start of conditional trading on Friday. [ID:nLDE62G29P]

ENBRIDGE INC (ENB.TO)

Enbridge Inc said it restarted its 185,000 barrel per day crude Line 65 from Canada to the United States on Thursday after stopping shipments on Wednesday due to maintenance. [ID:nN1892434]

OIL SLIPS

Oil slipped below $82 a barrel on Friday as the dollar strengthened against the euro on worries over Greece’s debt problems, and after an industry report suggested OPEC exports were rising. [O/R]

GOLD, BASE METALS

Gold edged lower in Europe on Friday as persistent weakness in the euro kept the precious metal under pressure, but traders were cheered by its resilience to a rising dollar in recent sessions. [GOL/]

Copper climbed on Friday as investors expecting stronger global economic and demand growth bought the industrial metal, but concern about demand from top consumer China capped gains. [MET/L]

CANADA RESEARCH

UBS raises Agrium Inc (AGU.TO) (AGU.N) price target to $83 from $72; rating buy.

Raymond James raises MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd MDA.TO price target to C$44 from C$42; rating market perform.

RBC cuts Gabriel Resources (GBU.TO) to underperform from sector perform.

For more research, please see: [CA-RCH]

$1=$1.01 Canadian Reporting by Jennifer Kwan

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