October 26, 2012 / 12:52 PM / in 5 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open lower despite firm U.S. data

Oct 26 (Reuters) - Canadian stock futures pointed to a lower open on Friday, as lackluster corporate earnings reports globally undermined investor confidence, even as U.S. gross domestic product data came in higher than expected.

TOP STORIES

* U.S. economic growth picked up in the third quarter as a late burst in consumer spending offset the first cutbacks in investment in more than a year by cautious businesses.

* Spain’s unemployment rate hit a record high in the third quarter, with one in four out of work and more expected to lose their jobs in 2013 as the next phase of government cutbacks kicks in.

* The European Central Bank is ready to use its new bond-purchase program and it is up Spain to decide whether to make the request for aid that is required to trigger ECB buying, ECB policymaker Peter Praet said.

* Merck & Co reported mixed third-quarter results, with earnings beating Wall Street forecasts but sales slightly missing the mark amid stiff generic competition that began in August for the company’s Singulair asthma medicine.

* Apple Inc delivered a second straight quarter of disappointing results and iPad sales fell well short of Wall Street’s targets, marring its record of consistently blowing past investors’ expectations.

MARKET SNAPSHOT

* Canada stock futures traded down 0.47 percent

* U.S. stock futures , , were down around 0.3 percent to 0.8 percent

* European shares, were down

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 297.37; fell 0.26 percent

* Gold futures : $1,706.1; fell 0.34 percent

* US crude : $85.59; fell 0.53 percent

* Brent crude : $108.12; fell 0.34 percent

* LME 3-month copper : $7,773.75; fell 0.53 percent

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* African Barrick Gold Plc. : The miner downgraded its 2012 production forecast and reported soaring production costs, hurting quarterly profit, as suitor China National Gold Group Corporation continued its due diligence on the company.

* Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. : The property and casualty insurer run by contrarian investor Prem Watsa, said on Thursday its third-quarter profit fell sharply from the year before, due to losses on the company’s equity’ hedges.

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters.

* Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. : Barclays raises target price of the U.S.-listed shares to $64 from $62 and CIBC raises rating to sector performer from sector underperformer and raises price target to $69 from $50 after the company posted better-than-expected third-quarter results and increased its production outlook.

* Cenovus Energy Inc. : National Bank Financial cuts target price to C$40 from C$41 despite the company’s strong third-quarter results and increased oil sand production, says this will be a difficult quarter to beat.

* Goldcorp Inc. : Canaccord Genuity raises target price of U.S.-listed shares to $66 from $62.50 citing the company’s strong third-quarter results and its superior high-grade, low-cost growth profile.

* Potash Corp. : Canaccord Genuity cuts target price of U.S.-listed shares to $48 from $50 and CIBC cuts target price to $44 from $46 citing the company’s unimpressive third-quarter results, its lowered outlook and potash surplus in the market.

* Shaw Communications Inc. : Canaccord Genuity raises price target to C$19.50 from C$18 and CIBC raises target price to C$23 from C$22 on the company’s solid fourth-quarter results.

ON THE CALENDAR

* No major Canadian economic data scheduled to report

* Major U.S. events and data includes GDP, Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment and core PCE

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