CANADA STOCKS-TSX may rise after solid Spanish auction

April 19 Thu Apr 19, 2012 8:42am EDT

April 19 (Reuters) - Toronto's resource heavy main stock index looked set to open higher on Thursday after a better-than-expected Spanish auction eased concerns about Europe's debt crisis and boosted appetite for riskier assets.

But the news was partly offset by a report showing new U.S. claims for unemployment benefits fell less than expected last week.

TOP STORIES

* France and Spain sold all the bonds they wanted at auction, though for Spain the cost was rising yields, indicating growing concerns the government will not be able to tame its deficit.

* New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits fell less than expected last week, according to a government report on Thursday that could dampen hopes of a pick-up in job creation in April after March's slowdown.

* African Barrick Gold, a unit of Barrick Gold Corp reported a 17 percent fall in quarterly output, partly due to lower ore quality at its Buzwagi mine in Tanzania, prompting fears that the company might hit the low end of its full-year production outlook.

* Bank of America Corp reported a drop in first-quarter profits as the second-largest U.S. bank took accounting charges related to its debt.

* Human Genome Sciences Inc said it had rejected an unsolicited bid worth around $2.6 billion from long-time partner GlaxoSmithKline, marking a new takeover battle in a drugs sector that has been swept by M&A recently.

MARKET SNAPSHOT

* Canada stock futures traded up 0.45 percent

* U.S. stock futures , , were up around 0.25 percent

* European shares, traded flat

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* Thomson Reuters-Jeffries CRB Index :299.03; down 0.04 percent

* Gold Futures : $1632; fell -0.41 percent

* US Crude : $102.66; fell -0.01 percent

* Brent Crude : $118.56; rose 0.5 percent

* LME 3-month Copper : $8007.75; fell -0.35 percent

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Fibrek Inc. : The Supreme Court of Canada on Wednesday blocked the specialty pulp maker's private placement to Mercer International Inc, another setback to the companies' planned merger.

* Aastra Technologies Ltd. : The business communications company posted a jump in quarterly profit on lower research and development costs.

* Golden Star Resources : The company said its first-quarter gold production missed its own forecast due to unscheduled maintenance at its sulfide plant in Ghana. It produced 77,725 ounces of gold, lagging its estimate of 79,000 ounces. Cash costs rose to $1,120 per ounce from $980 per ounce a year ago.

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Alimentation Couche Tard : CIBC raises price target to C$43 from C$33; Canaccord raises price target to C$44 from C$36.50

* ARC Resources Ltd. : Canaccord Genuity cuts price target to C$25 from C$28

* Baytex Energy Corp. : NBF raises price target to C$58 from C$56, rating outperform

* Bonavista Energy : Canaccord Genuity cuts price target to C$22 from C$26

* Celtic :Canaccord Genuity cuts price target to C$33.50 from C$40

* Crescent Point : Canaccord Genuity cuts price target to C$46.50 from C$50.25

* Paramount Resources : Canaccord Genuity cuts price target to C$35 from C$42.50

* Penn West Petroleum : Canaccord Genuity cuts price target to C$23.50 from C$27.50

* Petrobakken Energy : Canaccord Genuity cuts price target to C$23.25 from C$25.50

* Peyto Exploration & Development : Canaccord cuts price target to C$20 from C$22

ON THE CALENDAR

* No Major Canadian economic data

* Major U.S. events and data includes initial claims, existing home sales for March and business activity for April

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