CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open higher on record China factory data
Jan 24 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index looked set to open higher on Thursday, as manufacturing data from China revived hopes of recovery in the world's second largest economy.
* Growth in Chinese manufacturing accelerated to a two year high and a buoyant Germany took the euro zone economy a step closer to recovery, business surveys showed.
* Agrium raised its fourth-quarter earnings forecast, as strong grain and oilseed prices spurred demand for its fertilizer products over the fall season in North America.
* Diversified U.S. manufacturer 3M Co reported a 3.9 percent rise in profit, on solid growth in sales of its products, which range from Post-It notes to films used in television screens.
* Lockheed Martin Corp, the Pentagon's supplier, said that it expected higher earnings this year despite weakening sales, citing a record backlog and continued efforts to cut costs.
* Commerzbank, Germany's second-biggest lender, plans to cut up to 12 percent of staff by 2016 in a bid to slash costs and revamp its ailing retail business.
* Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia said will axe its annual dividend payment for the first time in over 20 years, to shore up its finances as sales fall.
* Canada stock futures traded flat
* U.S. stock futures , , were mixed around -1.26 percent and 0.11 percent
* European shares, were mixed
COMMODITY PRICE MOVES
* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 300.9274; fell 0.05 percent
* Gold futures : $1,681.7; fell 0.27 percent
* US crude : $95.59; rose 0.38 percent
* Brent crude : $112.78; fell 0.02 percent
* LME 3-month copper : $8,067; fell 0.44 percent
CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH
* Agrium Inc. : Activist shareholder Jana Partners LLC said it is taking its case for splitting up the fertilizer company to its Canadian investors, just ahead of an Agrium move to solidify its support among sell-side analysts.
* Alamos Gold Inc. : The company said it could not sweeten its C$4.65-per-share offer for Aurizon Mines Ltd as its rival has not provided any new information to warrant a change in the bid.
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters.
* Oil and gas: Barclays cuts price target of Baytex Energy Corp to C$49 from C$54; of Crescent Point Energy Corp to C$45 from C$50 and of Penn West Petroleum to C$10 from C$12; says weak commodity prices have impacted sector-wide cash flows and spending rates thus affecting near-term growth
* Celtic Exploration Ltd. : National Bank Financial raises target to C$27.50 from C$26.50, says the company isdelisting its shares and spinning off into a new company, Kelt, following approval
* Fortress Paper Ltd. : RBC cuts to sector perform from outperform to reflect weaker pulp pricing outlook, slower ramp-up of pulp production at Thurso and higher cost assumptions
* Methanex Corp. : CIBC raises target price to C$32 from C$31 after the company said it has secured a 10-year natural gas contract in Geismar which will reduce its exposure to natural gas price fluctuations and lower its risk profile
ON THE CALENDAR
* No major Canadian economic data scheduled for release
* Major U.S. events and data includes initial claims, continuing claims, Markit Flash mfg PMI
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