CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open higher, Fed meet in focus

Wed Dec 12, 2012 8:14am EST

Dec 12 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index looked set to open higher on Wednesday, as investors bet the U.S. Federal Reserve will unveil a fresh round of stimulus for the economy.

TOP STORIES

* The U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to announce a fresh round of bond buying as part of its efforts to support a fragile economic recovery threatened by political wrangling over the government's budget.

* Cenovus Energy Inc said it expects to produce nearly 14 percent more oil next year as it ramps up output at its Christina Lake oil sands project in northern Alberta.

* Range Resources Corp said it expects capital spending to fall 19 percent to $1.3 billion in 2013, with nearly 85 percent of the budget going to its oil and liquids-rich operations in the Marcellus and Horizontal Mississippian shale fields.

* Avon Products Inc said it will cut about 1,500 jobs globally and will exit the South Korea and Vietnam markets as part of a turnaround plan announced in November.

* DuPont boosted its 2012 forecast and announced a $1 billion stock buy-back on Tuesday, a positive sign that demand has begun to improve slightly for the company's Kevlar, Corian and other products.

MARKET SNAPSHOT

* Canada stock futures traded up 0.34 percent

* U.S. stock futures , , were up around 0.17 percent to 0.29 percent

* European shares, were up

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 295.4327; rose 0.39 percent

* Gold futures : $1713.5; rose 0.31 percent

* US crude : $86.47; rose 0.79 percent

* Brent crude : $109.07; rose 0.98 percent

* LME 3-month copper : $8130.4; rose 0.44 percent

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Athabasca Oil Corp. : The company said on Tuesday it is still looking to complete a joint venture deal on some of its northern Alberta oil sands properties despite new Canadian rules, as its as-yet-unnamed partner is seeking its own approvals for the transaction.

* Husky Energy Inc. : Hourly workers represented by the United Steelworkers union at Husky Energy's 155,000 barrel per day Lima, Ohio, refinery approved a new three-year contract with the company in a Monday night vote, the union said.

* Nexen Inc. : Alberta is in the process of choosing a marketer for the crude oil it collects in lieu of cash royalties, a role now mostly filled by the company, whose takeover by China's state-owned CNOOC Ltd was approved by Ottawa last week.

* Spartan Oil Corp. : The company said it has agreed to be acquired by Bonterra Energy Corp and terminated its earlier agreement with Pinecrest Energy Inc.

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Discovery Air Inc. : Canaccord Genuity cuts target to C$3.50 from C$3.75 on a reduced EDITDA estimate which drives a lower free cash forecast and a higher debt estimate

* North West Co Inc. : Barclays ups target to C$22 from C$21, expects gross margin gains to drive EPS growth and efficiency savings to offset slowing sales growth

* Nuvista Energy Ltd. : CIBC ups target to C$7 from C$6.50 after the company issued shares on a regular and flow-through basis making it well-financed to execute on the next stage of its Montney delineation program, which sets up a strong second half of 2013 and 2014

* Pacific and Western Credit Corp. : Canaccord Genuity cuts target to C$2 from C$2.50 reflecting expectations of a slower ramp up in credit cards and the company's bankruptcy trustee program

* WiLan Inc. : CIBC cuts price target to C$8 from C$10 after the U.S. Court of Appeals issued a ruling affirming the NY court's ruling that LG did not infringe the '402 v-chip patent which is a negative for the company's v-chip opportunity

ON THE CALENDAR

* No major Canadian economic data scheduled for release

* Major U.S. events and data includes import and export prices, federal budget and the FOMC rate

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