CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open lower; Bernanke's comments weigh

Tue Jan 15, 2013 8:12am EST

Jan 15 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index looked set to open lower on Tuesday, mirroring Wall Street, after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke painted a cautiously optimistic outlook for U.S. growth while urging lawmakers to raise the debt ceiling to avoid default.

TOP STORIES

* Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke urged U.S. lawmakers on Monday to lift the country's borrowing limit to avoid a potentially disastrous debt default, warning that the economy was still at risk from political gridlock over the deficit.

* The United States faces a "material risk" of losing its triple-A status if there is a repeat of the wrangling seen in 2011 over raising the country's self-imposed debt ceiling, Fitch said. The debt rating agency also said Spain will continue to face downgrade risks, while Ireland could claw its way back into the single-A rating band.

* The German economy was hit hard by the euro zone crisis in the final quarter of last year, shrinking more than at any point in nearly three years as traditionally strong exports and investment slowed, the Statistics Office said.

* Rio Tinto aims to boost iron ore output by 15 percent this year after production in 2012 climbed to 253 million tonnes, beating its own guidance, as resurgent Chinese demand drives a price recovery.

* Aurizon Mines Ltd said that it was reviewing the unsolicited takeover proposal it received from rival gold miner Alamos Gold Inc and advised its shareholders to hold off on taking any action at this time.

* Anglo American Platinum, the world's top platinum producer, said it will mothball two South African mines, sell another and cut 14,000 jobs in moves to restore profits that may provoke a repeat of last year's strikes when about 50 people died.

MARKET SNAPSHOT

* Canada stock futures traded down 0.15 percent

* U.S. stock futures , , were down about 0.34 percent

* European shares, were down

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 298.2998; fell 0.1 percent

* Gold futures : $1,677.5; rose 0.52 percent

* US crude : $93.66; fell 0.51 percent

* Brent crude : $111.59; fell 0.26 percent

* LME 3-month copper : $7,960; fell 0.5 percent

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Corus Entertainment Inc. : The media company on Monday reported a fall in quarterly revenue, hurt by lower sales at its television segment.

* Encana Corp. : The natural gas producer quashed speculation on Monday that it may be up for sale following the unexpected retirement of its CEO.

* Encanto Potash Corp. : The mining company said on Monday that it is in talks with India's Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers Ltd, but has not struck any agreement for future potash sales.

* Lululemon Athletica Inc. : The yoga retailer said on Monday it expected growth slowed sharply at its established yoga-wear shops for the quarter that includes the crucial holiday shopping season.

* Rogers Communications Inc and Shaw Communications Inc. : Rogers Communications said it would buy Hamilton, Ontario-based Mountain Cablevision Limited and some wireless spectrum licenses from Shaw Communications for about C$700 million.

ANALYSTS' RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Canadian National Railway Co. : CIBC raises to sector outperformer from sector performer and raises target price to C$105 from C$95, says the company will leverage its best-in-class operating system to capture a disproportionate share of freight volume growth

* Pengrowth Energy Corp. : CIBC cuts to sector underperformer from sector performer and cuts target price to C$5 from C$7.25 after the company gave a lower-than-expected 2013 production outlook and estimated higher capital expenditures

* Petrobakken Energy Ltd. : CIBC cuts to sector performer from sector outperformer and cuts target price to C$11 from C$18, sees the company losing momentum in 2013 as lower spending will not replace higher declines

* Uranium One Inc. : CIBC cuts to sectorperformer from sector outperformer and cuts price target to C$2.86 from C$5, does not expect a substantially higher offer for the company to be submitted by either ARMZ or a competitor

* Vermilion Energy Inc. : CIBC raises to sector outperformer from sector performer and raises target price to C$61 from C$51.50, says the company is insulated against weak pricing and has a strong long-term growth profile

ON THE CALENDAR

* No major Canadian economic data scheduled for release

* Major U.S. events and data includes retail sales, producer price index, Empire state index and business inventories

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