August 27, 2010 / 12:55 PM / in 7 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open higher as commodity prices rise

Aug 27 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index looked set to open higher on Friday, boosted by a rise in commodity prices and U.S. economic growth data that came in better than expectations.

FACTORS TO WATCH

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

* U.S. stock index futures extended gains on Friday after data showed U.S. gross domestic product for the second quarter was revised lower, but the figure was better than anticipated. [.N]

* U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke delivers a speech that is expected to shed light on whether the Fed will support the economy with fresh injections of cash. [ID:nN27251934]

* European stocks were flat, with telecoms and utilities among the gainers.

* Asian stocks pared declines but still rounded off a week of losses.

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities benchmark, rose 0.41 percent in early trade.

* U.S. crude futures turned positive after the government reported the economy grew at a 1.6 percent annual rate in the second quarter, better than the consensus forecast, but revised lower from its previous estimate of growth at a 2.4 percent pace. [O/R]

* Gold held steady near $1,235 an ounce in Europe on Friday as buyers took to the sidelines ahead of key U.S. economic data due later in the session and a hotly awaited speech from Federal Reserve chair Ben Benanke. [GOL/]

* Copper hit a one-week high on Friday but was expected to come under pressure as nervous investors sell ahead of U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s speech on the economic outlook. [MET/L]

* Canada’s dollar was softer against the U.S. currency on Friday morning, while bonds were lower across the curve, as investors awaited an update on the U.S. economic outlook from U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke. [CAD/]

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Potash Corp POT.TO POT.N: BHP Billiton’s chief executive flies to North America this week to mount a charm offensive to woo Potash Corp shareholders, as a potential Chinese rival bidder reiterated it was closely watching BHP’s $39 billion offer. [ID:nN26228720]

* Research In Motion RIM.TO RIMM.O: India insisted on Friday it would block some BlackBerry services next week if the smartphone maker did not address security concerns, and government officials said they were hopeful for a solution soon. [ID:nSGE67Q08R]

* Manulife Financial Corp MFC.TO: The Canadian insurer and Switzerland’s Ace Ltd ACE.N are among bidders for New York Life Insurance Co’s Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korean assets, sources said, in a deal valued between $800 million and $1 billion. [ID:nTOE67Q021]

* Mosaid Technologies Inc MSD.TO reported lower first-quarter profit, hurt mainly by higher patent licensing and litigation expenses, and said it was on track to meet its FY11 targets as the intellectual property firm continues to see rising demand for its technologies. [ID:nSGE67P0MA]

* Arise Technologies Corp APV.TO: The company said its shipment of Photovoltaic cells doubled sequentially in the first seven weeks of the quarter, as the solar cell market continued to improve. [ID:nSGE67P0M7]

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Allied Properties Reit AP_u.TO target price raised to C$20.50 from C$20; rating market perform at Raymond James

* National Bank of Canada NA.TO price cut to C$67 from C$68; rating neutral at Macquarie

* Platinum Group Metals PTM.TO rating raised to strong buy from outperform at Raymond James

* RBC RY.TO target price cut by C$2 to C$58; rating outperform at KBW. Target price cut to C$56 from C$60; rating neutral at Macquarie

$1=$1.06 Canadian Dollar Reporting by Bangalore newsroom, editing by Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay and Jeffrey Hodgson

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