November 7, 2013 / 1:38 PM / in 4 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open higher after ECB cuts rates

Nov 7 (Reuters) - Canadian stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Thursday after the European Central Bank cut interest rates to a new record low, in response to a sharp fall in inflation last week.

TOP STORIES

* The European Central Bank cut rates as below-target inflation sparked fears the euro zone’s economic recovery could stall.

* The Bank of England left policy unchanged, sticking to its commitment to keep interest rates low until the recovery is more firmly established.

* BCE Inc, Canada’s biggest telecom company, posted a 35 percent slump in quarterly profit, hurt by costs related to its $3 billion acquisition of Astral Media earlier this year.

* Coffee and doughnut chain Tim Hortons Inc reported an 8 percent rise in quarterly profit as same-store sales improved slightly in the United States.

* Manulife Financial Corp, Canada’s largest life insurer, reported a third-quarter profit that just beat analysts’ expectations, driven by strong wealth and mutual fund sales and higher bond yields.

MARKET SNAPSHOT

* Canada stock futures traded up 0.42 percent

* U.S. stock futures , , were up around 0.24-0.53 percent

* European shares, were up

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 274.4987; rose 0.01 percent

* Gold futures : $1316.4; fell 0.1 percent

* US crude : $94.94; rose 0.15 percent

* Brent crude : $104.35; fell 0.85 percent

* LME 3-month copper : $7120.25; rose 0.07 percent

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Sun Life Financial : The life insurer said on Wednesday it fell to a third-quarter net loss due to charges related to the sale of its U.S. annuities business, but operating profit topped estimates.

* Chemtrade Logistics Inc The company is in advanced talks to buy General Chemical Corp, two people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday, in a deal that could value the specialty chemicals maker at around $1 billion.

* Suncor Energy Inc : The energy company said Wednesday its average production from oil sands operations rose to 375,000 barrels per day in October from, up 2.7 percent from 365,000 bpd the previous month.

ANALYSTS’ RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Agrium Inc (AGU). CIBC cuts price target to $109 from $113 after the company posted lower-then-expected third-quarter results and provided a weak fourth-quarter outlook

* Avigilon Corp (AVO). CIBC raises price target to C$32 from C$20 after the company’s third-quarter revenue beat estimates, driven by Unexpected enterprise penetration and growth rate increases in the U.S. and EMEA

* Iamgold Corp (IMG). Barclays cuts to underweight from equal weight, target to $5 from $7 to reflect concerns regarding the delay in commercial production at the company’s Westwood mine

* Intact Financial Corp (IFC). CIBC raises price target to C$73 from C$70, says the company’s core loss ratio stabilized, following two quarters of increases

* Trican Well Service Ltd (TCW). CIBC cuts price target to C$14 from C$14.50 citing the company’s soft third quarter results, says its U.S. exposure will continue to drag overall financial performance

ON THE CALENDAR

* No major Canadian economic data scheduled for release

* Major U.S. events and data includes growth and initial claims

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