January 26, 2011 / 1:31 PM / in 7 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX set to open higher after commodity bounce

Jan 26 (Reuters) - Canada’s resource-heavy stock market looked set to open higher on Wednesday as commodity prices climbed after a promise of spending cuts from U.S. President Barack Obama cemented expectations the Fed will retain faith in its ultra-loose policy.

FACTORS TO WATCH

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

* U.S. stock index futures edged higher, hours after U.S. President Barack Obama called for a lower corporate tax rate to boost the economy, but a drop in Boeing’s profit limited gains. [.N]

* European shares rose as confidence was boosted by U.S. President Barack Obama’s plans to lower corporate tax rates, with the positive tone also helped by strength in carmakers on merger and acquisition hopes. [.EU]

* Japan’s Nikkei average dropped 0.6 percent, with resource shares losing ground after a rate hike in India and a contraction in Britain’s economy led to a pull-back in commodities prices.

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities benchmark, rose 0.58 percent in early trade.

* Oil prices bounced higher after two days of losses as the dollar fell to 10-week lows ahead of a U.S. Federal Reserve statement expected to focus on positive economic prospects for the world’s top oil consumer. [O/R]

* Gold edged up in Europe as the metal’s fall to a near three-month low attracted physical buyers back to the market, though moves were muted ahead of an announcement on U.S. monetary policy later in the day. [GOL/]

* Copper rallied as the dollar weakened against the euro but the approach of a holiday in top consumer China and expectations of tighter policy in the country checked investor enthusiasm. [MET/L]

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd (CP.TO): The company posted a 27 percent rise in fourth-quarter profit spurred by strong demand for rail services across all sectors. [ID:nSGE70O0EF]

* CAE Inc. (CAE.TO): The company’s U.S. unit won a contract worth $44 million to design and manufacture helicopter simulators for the United States navy. [ID:nSGE70P050]

* NAL Energy Corp. NAE.TO: The company said it will spend 85 percent of its capital spending this year on oil development opportunities in Alberta and Saskatchewan. [ID:nSGE70P04Y]

* Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (CNQ.TO): The company said on Tuesday it expected no production in February from its flagship Horizon Oil Sands facility in northern Alberta following a major fire earlier this month. [ID:nN2531477]

* Metro Inc. MRUa.TO: The grocer on Tuesday posted a lower first-quarter profit and revenue that fell short of analysts’ targets as holiday-season competition pulled down food prices. [ID:nN25246122]

* Bombardier Inc. (BBDb.TO): The world’s third-largest commercial aircraft maker is on target to deliver its C-Series narrow-body jet in 2013, CEO Pierre Beaudoin said on Wednesday. [ID:nWLA3663]

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Ensign Energy (ESI.TO) price target raised to C$18 from C$17; rating buy at UBS

* First Quantum (FM.TO) price target raised to C$230 from C$215; strong buy at Raymond James

* Metro MRUa.TO price target cut to C$48 from C$50 at UBS

* Open Range ONR.TO price target raised to C$3.25 from C$2.50; rating outperform at Raymond James

* Progress Energy (PRQ.TO) price target raised to C$15 from C$13.50; rating buy at UBS

* North America Energy (NOA.TO) rating raised to strong buy from outperform at Raymond James

$1= $0.99 Canadian Reporting by Kishan Nair and Bangalore Newsroom; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson

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