August 26, 2010 / 1:04 PM / in 7 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open firmer after US jobs data

Aug 26 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index looked set to open higher on Thursday, helped by a rise in commodity prices and stronger-than-expected U.S. economic data.

FACTORS TO WATCH

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

* U.S. stock index futures extended gains on Thursday after data showed first-time applications for unemployment insurance fell more than expected in the latest week. [.N]

* New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits fell more that expected last week but a measure of underlying labor market trends rose to a nine-month high, government data showed on Thursday. [ID:nN26152418]

* European stocks were up, halting a one-week drop on a batch of strong corporate results.

* Asian stocks rose as investors hunted for bargains among recently beaten-down shares.

* The Canadian dollar recovered from a seven-week low against the U.S. currency on Thursday after an overnight bounce in equity markets and commodity prices. [CAD/]

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities benchmark, rose 0.74 percent in early trade.

* Oil rose for a second day on Thursday as investors bought back into the market after it hit 11-week lows, but analysts said the fundamental outlook was still bearish with ample stocks to cover any rebound in demand. [O/R]

* Gold rose for a third day on Thursday to its highest since late June, driven by a resurgence in investor concern over the outlook for global growth that has undermined global equities and boosted safe-haven assets. [GOL/]

* Copper rallied on Thursday, helped by a weaker dollar and improved appetite for risk in the broader markets, and as bargain hunters stepped in, deeming a sell off sparked by poor U.S. data as overdone. [MET/L]

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO RY.TO: Canada’s largest bank said on Thursday its third-quarter profit fell 18 percent, missing analysts’ estimates, as weak trading activity ate into capital markets income. [ID:nN26176305]

* National Bank of Canada NA.TO: The bank said on Thursday its third-quarter profit fell 10.6 percent, as weak trading activity hurt the bank’s financial markets business. [ID:nN26182091]

* Boralex Inc BLX.TO: The Canadian alternative-power producer on Wednesday added a cash option to its offer for the income trust it manages, but at least one unit holder said the offer was still inadequate. [ID:nSGE67O0L9]

* Petrominerales Ltd PMG.TO: The company, which is looking to take control of Norway’s InterOil Exploration & Production ASA IOX.OL, said it would provide financing to InterOil on terms equal to its existing Citibank facility, if Petrominerales gets a majority stake in InterOil. [ID:nSGE67O0KW]

* Enbridge Inc ENB.TO: A pipeline of the company that ruptured in Michigan more than a month ago won’t resume oil shipments until at least next week, now that a key pressure test on the damaged section has been delayed until Monday. [ID:nN25155223]

* Harry Winston HW.TO: Harry Winston said on Wednesday it had closed a deal to reinstate its 40 percent ownership in the Diavik diamond mine in northern Canada by buying back the interest it sold to Kinross Gold K.TO in 2009. [ID:nN25156253]

* Gran Tierra Energy Inc GTE.TO: The company said on Thursday oil bearing zones at its Moqueta-2 well in Colombia are more productive than the first well, but said production from the Putumayo Basin in southern Colombia has been reduced due to a pipeline disruption. [ID:nSGE67P0I3]

* Finavera Renewables Inc FVR.V: Finavera said on Wednesday it is selling a majority stake in a wind-power project it is developing in Ireland. [ID:nN25151455]

* New Island Resources NIS.V: New Island Resources confirmed on Wednesday that it has asked Canadian regulators to determine whether Anaconda Mining’s ANX.TO takeover bid for the gold explorer violated securities laws. [ID:nSGE67O0KR]

* Mesa Uranium Corp MSA.V: The explorer of lithium, potash and uranium properties in the United States said it plans to buy the Pine Valley Potash project in Utah for an upfront payment of $25,000. [ID:nSGE67O0L1]

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* CIBC CM.TO target price raised to C$85 from C$83; rating buy at UBS

* Crescent Point Energy CPG.TO rating started with buy; target price of C$40 at UBS

* Fronteer Gold FRG.TO target price raised to C$8.50 from C$7; rating outperform at RBC

* Meg Energy MEG.TO rating started with buy; target price of C$37 at UBS

* Provident Energy Trust PVE_u.TO rating started with outperform; target price of C$8 at Macquarie

* Theratechnologies TH.TO target price raised to C$8 from C$6; rating buy at Desjardins

($1=$1.06 Canadian)

Reporting by Bangalore newsroom, editing by Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay and Jeffrey Hodgson

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