CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open lower, banks in focus

Mon Jan 7, 2013 8:13am EST

Jan 7 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index looked set to open lower on Monday after Federal Reserve officials hinted that the central bank could halt its asset purchases program in 2013.

Investors may put banking stocks in focus after global regulators gave banks four more years and greater flexibility to build up cash buffers.

TOP STORIES

* Global regulators gave banks four more years and greater flexibility on Sunday to build up cash buffers so they can use some of their reserves to help struggling economies grow.

* Euro zone sentiment improved for a fifth consecutive month in January, with investors' expectations rising to their highest level in almost two years after a successful Greek bond buyback and a dip in Spanish jobless figures.

* Japan's new government will set up programs worth nearly $5 billion to boost businesses, including helping them buy foreign companies, according to a draft economic stimulus package seen by Reuters that could be approved this month.

* While the focus of last week's agreement between the Federal Trade Commission and Google Inc was search, the deal's restrictions on how Google uses its patents could have a broader impact on the technology industry.

MARKET SNAPSHOT

* Canada stock futures traded down 0.32 percent

* U.S. stock futures , , were down around 0.03 percent

* European shares, were down

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 294.368; fell 0.07 percent

* Gold futures : $1,656.9; rose 0.72 percent

* US crude : $92.54; fell 0.59 percent

* Brent crude : $110.79; fell 0.47 percent

* LME 3-month copper : $8,044; fell 0.51 percent

ANALYSTS' RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. : Canaccord Genuity raises target price of U.S. listed shares to $74 from $70 on revenue, EPS growth in line with expectation, potential upside to 2013 guidance and the strong likelihood of additional M&A activity

* Canadian Banks: Canaccord Genuity raises target price for Bank Of Montreal from C$66 to C$68; Bank Of Nova Scotia to C$67 from C$62; RBC to C$70 from C$65 and TD Bank to C$98 from C$92 on cyclical and improved investor sentiments. It believes that the banks' near-term earnings growth guidance will be augmented by acquisitions and some buy back activity

* Canadian Pacific Railway : Barclays raises target price to $121 from$110 on renewed operational discipline which provides the potential to nearly double earnings for the company

ON THE CALENDAR

* Major Canadian economic data includes PMI

* Major U.S. events and data includes employment index

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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