CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open lower, ECB outlook eyed

Thu Feb 7, 2013 8:35am EST

Feb 7 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index looked set to open flat to lower on Thursday, as investors await comments from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi on the region's growth outlook.

TOP STORIES

* Mario Draghi faces a grilling over the European Central Bank's sensitivity to a sharp rise in the euro and his connection to an Italian banking scandal after a policy meeting at which policymakers left interest rates unchanged.

* The Bank of England made no change to its amount of stimulus for the economy at a policy meeting though it voted to reinvest 6.6 billion pounds of its current bond holdings due to mature in March.

* Air Canada reported a fourth-quarter operating profit, helped by tighter cost controls, and said it would launch premium economy services on international flights as it tries to attract more business travelers.

* BCE Inc reported higher profits, helped by earnings growth in its wireless and media divisions as well as an investment gain, and the company also boosted its dividend.

* Teck Resources reported a sharp drop in fourth-quarter earnings as higher copper sales failed to offset the impact of sagging coal prices.

* Manulife Financial Corp rebounded to a fourth-quarter profit from a year-before loss on the back of tax and investment gains, as well as stronger sales of insurance and wealth products, it said.

MARKET SNAPSHOT

* Canada stock futures traded down 0.03 percent

* U.S. stock futures , , were up around 0.05 percent to 0.12 percent

* European shares, were mixed

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 303.8406; rose 0.15 percent

* Gold futures : $1,674.8; fell 0.17 percent

* US crude : $96.79; rose 0.18 percent

* Brent crude : $117.43; rose 0.6 percent

* LME 3-month copper : $8,242; fell 0.04 percent

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Canaccord Financial : The investment dealer and wealth management firm reported a stronger third-quarter profit as record advisory fees drove a 56 percent jump in revenue, and the company's CEO pledged to continue to expand its presence in UK.

* Gildan Activewear Inc : The clothing maker raised its full-year earnings forecast after posting a profit for its first quarter, driven by sales in its printwear business.

* Shoppers Drug Mart Corp reported a flat fourth-quarter profit, despite a rise in pharmacy sales.

* Sierra Wireless Inc : The wireless communication equipment maker said higher operating costs will result in a first-quarter loss, even after posting a profit that beat analysts' estimates in the latest three months.

* Silver Wheaton Corp : The company, which just signed its first major gold-stream deal, would consider increasing its percentage of revenue from bullion to as much as 30 percent even as it retains its focus on silver, CEO Randy Smallwood said on Wednesday.

* SouthGobi Resources Ltd The coal miner said Mongolia's anti-corruption authority has imposed restrictions on the company's Mongolian unit, including its local bank accounts, as it investigates asset sales.

* Toronto-Dominion Bank : Brian Murdock, the CEO of the bank's Asset Management unit, has resigned to return to the U.S. from Canada.

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Genworth MI Canada Inc : Canaccord Genuity raises target price to C$26.50 from C$25.50 citing the company's strong fourth-quarter results, its potential share buyback and its capital position

* Gildan Activewear Inc : CIBC raises price target to $42 from $40, says the company is well-positioned for continued revenue growth

* Husky Energy Inc : CIBC ups target price to C$34 from C$31 citing the company's increased production guidance, driven by its Liwan and Sunrise projects

* SNC Lavalin Group Inc : CIBC raises to sector outperformer from sector performer, raises price target to C$54 from C$45, on increasing valuations due to infrastructure concessions

* Westjet Airlines Ltd : BMO cuts to market perform from outperform, to reflect the view that incremental growth in capacity going forward increases the earnings risk profile

ON THE CALENDAR

* Major Canadian economic data includes new housing PI and building permits

* Major U.S. events and data includes initial claims, continuing claims, and labour productivity.

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