CANADA STOCKS-TSX set to open lower, U.S. fiscal cliff weighs

Tue Dec 4, 2012 8:36am EST

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Dec 4 (Reuters) - Canadian stock index futures pointed to a slightly lower open on Tuesday, tracking a decline in global commodity prices, with the uncertainty surrounding U.S. budget talks hurting investor sentiment.

TOP STORIES

* Bank of Montreal's fourth-quarter profit rose 41 percent, topping estimates, as a sharp jump in wholesale banking income more than offset a weaker performance from its U.S. lending unit, the bank said.

* Canada, hoping to spur economic development of its far north, has approved the construction of a massive iron ore mine in the Arctic territory of Nunavut that could help top steelmaker ArcelorMittal reduce its dependence on outside suppliers.

* A think tank with ties to the Obama administration laid out a deficit-reduction proposal, urging the president to go bold and seek more concessions from Republicans on tax hikes.

* Canadian Natural Resources said it expects to produce more crude oil and natural gas liquids next year and plans to raise its capital budget by nearly 10 percent.

* Euro zone factory prices barely rose in October, echoing the slowing pace in consumer inflation, although the European Central Bank is expected to wait a little longer before cutting interest rates to help the slumping economy.

* EU finance ministers were unable to reach agreement on a new ECB-led system of banking supervision in Europe and agreed to meet on Dec. 12 to continue talks, Cypriot Finance Minister Vassos Shiarly said.

MARKET SNAPSHOT

* Canada stock futures traded down 0.1 percent

* U.S. stock futures , , were up around 0.08 percent to 0.14 percent

* European shares, were up

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 299.5434; fell 0.38 percent

* Gold futures : $1,703.4; fell 0.94 percent

* US crude : $88.3; fell 0.89 percent

* Brent crude : $109.79; fell 1.02 percent

* LME 3-month copper : $8,033; rose 0.35 percent

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. : The oil and gas producer said it expects to produce more crude oil and natural gas liquids next year, and plans to raise its capital budget by nearly 10 percent.

* Suncor Energy Inc. : The energy company said on Monday it will spend C$7.3 billion in 2013, up 9 percent from this year's reduced amount, with most of the budget directed at expanding its leading oil sands production.

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Saputo Inc. : Canaccord Genuity raises price target to C$49 from C$45 and CIBC raises price target to C$50 from C$49 after the company acquired Morningstar Foods from Dean Foods Co for $1.45 billion.

* Exco Technologies Ltd. : Canaccord Genuity raises target price to C$6.50 from C$6.25 after the company reported strong fourth-quarter results.

* TORC Oil and Gas Ltd. : CIBC starts with sector outperformer rating and a price target of C$3.50 citing the company's solid financial position and its oil plays in west central and southern Alberta

ON THE CALENDAR

* Major Canadian economic data includes Bank of Canada rate decision

* Major U.S. events and data includes Redbook and ISM

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