CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open lower as oil prices slip

TORONTO, April 7 Wed Apr 7, 2010 8:52am EDT

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TORONTO, April 7 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index may open flat to lower on Wednesday as oil prices take a breather from 18-month highs and an overnight backdrop of evaporating risk appetite continues to weigh on riskier assets.

The index could also follow U.S. futures, which edged lower ahead of a speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and an auction of 10-year Treasury notes amid concerns about rising yields. [.N]

As well, European stocks fell on ongoing concerns about the credibility of Greece's aid package. [MKTS/GLOB]

Toronto's main stock index fell on Tuesday with the energy group the chief laggard as investors took profits after two sessions of gains.

Here is some news that could affect stock prices:

CANADIAN DOLLAR RETESTS PARITY

The Canadian dollar continued to test parity against its U.S. counterpart on Wednesday, hitting a near 21-month high a day after reaching one-for-one footing. [CAD/]

OIL SLIPS

Oil slipped from 18-month highs around $87, taking a breath after two weeks of gains as the dollar strengthened against other currencies. [O/R]

GOLD STEADIES

Gold steadied in Europe, retreating after hitting a record high in euro terms, as the rising dollar offset buying linked to fear-driven diversification into hard assets like bullion. [GOL/]

COPPER DEMAND WANES

Copper edged lower, retreating from Tuesday's 20-month high as market players questioned whether prices around $8,000 a tonne were justified by the fundamental backdrop. [MET/L]

GREEK BANKS PLEAD FOR AID

Greek banks, hit by a series of credit rating downgrades linked to the country's debt crisis, have asked the government for more financial support. [ID:nLDE6360NB]

BERNANKE SPEECH

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is due to speak on "Economic Challenges: Past, Present and Future" at a Dallas luncheon. Investors will scour his testimony for clues about the Fed's thinking on interest rates and the economy, given recent better-than-expected economic data. [FED/AHEAD]

CANADIAN TIRE PROFIT UP

Canadian Tire Corp (CTC.TO) (CTCa.TO) expects annual operating earnings per share to rise by 8 percent to 10 percent over the next five years as it narrows its focus to its retail operations. [ID:nN0798625]

SUNCOR PRODUCTION

Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO) expects to start gas production in Syria by the middle of this year and is interested in bidding for blocks with oil potential, the head of its Syrian operation said. [ID:nLDE63515A]

CP RAIL PICKS COO

Canadian Pacific Railway (CP.TO) named former Canadian National Railway (CNR.TO) executive Ed Harris as its new chief operating officer on Tuesday. [ID:nN06244191]

FORZANI TOPS ESTIMATES

Sporting goods retailer Forzani Group FGL.TO posted a quarterly profit that beat market estimates, helped by better margins, and said its corporate and franchise stores saw strong early results in the first quarter. [ID:nSGE6350K2]

RESEARCH ROUNDUP

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

* Raymond James resumes coverage of Canyon Services Group (FRC.TO) with outperform rating versus prior strong buy rating

* Thomas Weisel cuts Centamin Egypt (CEE.TO) price target to C$3 from C$3.50; rating overweight

* Raymond James resumes coverage of Cineplex Galaxy Income Fund CGX_u.TO with outperform rating

* Canaccord Adams raises price target of Exeter Resource (XRC.TO) to C$11.75 from C$11.50; rating speculative buy

($1=$1 Canadian) (Reporting by Claire Sibonney; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)

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