CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open higher, fiscal cliff concerns remain

Thu Nov 8, 2012 8:59am EST

Nov 8 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index looked set to open higher on Thursday after a sharp fall in the previous session, although looming concerns about the U.S. "fiscal cliff" could limit gains.

TOP STORIES

* The European Central Bank held its main interest rate at 0.75 percent, deferring any cut in borrowing costs while it assesses the extent of the euro zone's economic downturn and waits for a cue to use its new bond-purchase programme.

* Tim Hortons Inc reported a higher third-quarter profit, helped by higher sales and a lower effective tax rate.

* Manitoba Telecom Services Inc, which has said it may sell its Allstream business, reported a rise in third-quarter profit on demand for wireless, broadband and IPTV services.

* Canadian Natural Resources Ltd reported a 57 percent fall in third-quarter profit on weak prices, and cut its full-year forecast for crude oil and natural gas liquids output.

* Manulife Financial Corp's third-quarter loss narrowed as a stronger performance in its investment portfolio offset a C$1 billion charge related to a shift in actuarial assumptions.

* Air Canada reported a 56 percent rise in third-quarter operating profit and said it was in talks with the government for an extension of pension deficit funding relief.

MARKET SNAPSHOT

* Canada stock futures traded up 0.19 percent

* U.S. stock futures , , were up around 0.17 percent to 0.34 percent

* European shares, were up

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 292.70; rose 0.27 percent

* Gold futures : $1,715.9; rose 0.16 percent

* US crude : $85.35; rose 1.08 percent

* Brent crude : $107.54; rose 0.67 percent

* LME 3-month copper : $7,621.75; rose 0.22 percent

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Canadian National Railway Co. : Looming legislation aimed at improving rail service for shippers in Canada could backfire and end up making the country's sprawling rail networks less efficient, the CEO of Canada's biggest railroad warned on Wednesday.

* Kinross Gold Corp. : The Canadian gold miner reported a 7 percent drop in adjusted third-quarter profit on Wednesday, as higher costs outweighed stronger production, but still beat analyst expectations.

* Magna International Inc. : The auto parts manufacturer said third-quarter profit nearly quadrupled on gains related to its purchase of the minority stake in its electric car business.

* Research In Motion Ltd. : The company said it has won a much-coveted U.S. government security clearance for its yet-to-be launched platform for BlackBerry 10 devices that are expected to hit store shelves in the first quarter of 2013.

* Sun Life Financial : The life insurer swung back to a third-quarter profit due to better results from the insurer's investments, it said on Wednesday.

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Automation Tooling Systems Inc. : CIBC raises target to C$8.75 from C$8.50, says the 2014 forecast is offset by the company's Nigerian project award.

* Bombardier Inc. : SocGen cuts price target to C$3.4 from C$3.5 and CIBC cuts target to C$4.75 from C$5.50 on the company's weak third-quarter results and the delay of its Cseries programme.

* Intact Financial Corp. : CIBC raises target to C$75 from C$71 after the company reported strong third-quarter results.

* Rona Inc. : National Bank Financial cuts target price to C$11 from C$12 and CIBC cuts price target to C$10.50 from C$12 citing the company's weaker-than-expected third-quarter results and challenging market conditions.

* Westjet Airlines Ltd. : National Bank Financial raises target to C$25 from C$23.50, BMO raises price target to C$22 from C$20 and CIBC raises target to C$24.50 from C$22 on the company's solid third-quarter results and its positive 2013 outlook.

ON THE CALENDAR

* Major Canadian economic data includes trade deficit, export and import

* Major U.S. events and data includes International trade, initial claims and continuing claims