Jan 12 (Reuters) - Canadian stock futures pointed to a higher open on Wednesday after a healthy bond sale in Portugal eased worries about the financial stability of the euro zone.
* Canadian equity futures <0#SXF:> pointed to a higher open.
* The Canadian dollar rallied to a 2 1/2-year high versus its U.S. counterpart, extending gains as investors continued to flock to the Canadian currency on the view that its economy will outperform others. [CAD/]
* U.S. stock index futures rose sharply after a healthy bond sale in Portugal and signs of strength in the U.S. banking sector. [.N]
* European stocks rallied, lifted by hopes euro zone finance ministers will beef up the region’s rescue fund while strong appetite in Portugal’s bond issue also provided respite. [.EU]
* Many Asian markets were higher, with Nikkei ending flat, backing away from an eight-month high hit early as traders locked in profits. Sentiment remains strong as a softer yen spurred foreign investors to buy up financial and property shares.
* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities benchmark, rose 0.23 percent in early trade.
* Brent crude oil rose to $98 a barrel for the first time in 27 months as production shutdowns and growing global demand raised expectations of tighter supplies. [O/R]
* Gold rose further above $1,380 an ounce in Europe on a retreat in the dollar, rising oil prices and firm physical interest from Asia. [GOL/]
* Copper prices bounced, boosted by expectations of stronger demand from top consumer China as investors digested the results of Portugal’s bond auction. [MET/L]
* Aurizon Mines (ARZ.TO): The mid-tier gold miner sees higher gold production in 2011 and said it plans to make a significant investment in infrastructure at its Casa Berardi mine in Quebec. [ID:nSGE70A0DB]
* Magna International Inc. (MG.TO): The auto-parts maker forecast 2011 sales to grow 9 percent to 13 percent and expects fixed assets spending to increase. [ID:nSGE70B08W]
* Talison Lithium. TLH.TO: The miner’s quarterly sales rose 54 percent, helped by higher demand and improved efficiency at its processing plant. The company said it sold 97,559 tons of lithium concentrate in the July to September quarter, compared with 63,309 tons last year. The company also expects improved production for the third quarter as stage 1 expansion of the Greenbushes Lithium Operations was completed in December. [ID:nSGE70B097]
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters. [RCH/CA]
* Canyon Services FRC.TO target price raised to C$13 from C$12.75; rating strong buy at Raymond James
* Grande Cache Coal GCE.TO price target raised to C$13 from C$10.30; rating buy at Salman Partners
* Western Coal WTN.TO price target raised to C$12.75 from C$11.50; rating hold at Salman Partners
($1= $1.00 Canadian)
Reporting by Kishan Nair and Bangalore Newsroom