CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open higher on U.S. budget optimism, RIM upgrade

Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:36am EST

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Nov 29 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index looked set to open higher on Thursday, tracking global markets, supported by a rise in commodity prices on hopes lawmakers will agree on a U.S. budget deal to avert the "fiscal cliff" of tax hikes and spending cuts.

TOP STORIES

* Research In Motion Ltd received a big boost on Thursday after Goldman Sachs raised its rating on the company, sending shares of the BlackBerry maker soaring more than 12 percent in trading before the morning bell.

* Economic morale in the euro zone improved for the first time in almost a year in November, but industry's reluctance to invest next year bodes poorly for a quick recovery from recession.

* U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, President Barack Obama's chief negotiator in talks to avert the "fiscal cliff," will meet with Congressional leaders amid signs that the market-rattling uncertainty about the outcome could go down to the wire.

* Rio Tinto aims to axe $7 billion in costs over the next two years and sell more assets to cushion against weaker commodity prices, while at the same time beefing up output in its lucrative iron ore business.

* Royal Bank of Canada's quarterly profit rose 22 percent on a sharp jump in fixed income trading revenue and steady loan growth, Canada's largest bank said.

* Clothing maker Gildan Activewear Inc posted an 84 percent rise in fourth-quarter profit, helped by higher printwear sales volumes, and the Canadian company increased its quarterly dividend by 20 percent.

MARKET SNAPSHOT

* Canada stock futures traded up 0.89 percent

* U.S. stock futures , , were up around 0.60 percent

* European shares, were up

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 299.0063; rose 0.63 percent

* Gold futures : $1,726; rose 0.55 percent

* US crude : $87.91; rose 1.64 percent

* Brent crude : $110.76; rose 1.14 percent

* LME 3-month copper : $7,880; rose 1.45 percent

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Inmet Mining Corp. : BMO raises target price to C$82 from C$71.50 after it rejected a second takeover offer from First Quantum Minerals.

* TransAlta Corp. : CIBC cuts target price to C$15 from C$16 citing lower contracted power prices and significantly lower profitability expectations from its Centralia project.

ON THE CALENDAR

* Major Canadian economic data includes Current account deficit, producer prices and raw material prices

* Major U.S. events and data includes building permits, GDP, core PCE prices, initial claims and pending home sales data

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