CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open lower on weak euro zone data; Barrick in focus

Thu Feb 14, 2013 8:53am EST

Feb 14 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index looked set to open lower on Thursday, as economic data showing the euro zone's recession deepened threw a first quarter recovery into doubt and rattled European shares.

TOP STORIES

* The euro zone slipped deeper into recession in the last three months of 2012 after its largest economies, Germany and France, shrank markedly at the end of the year.

* Barrick Gold reported a quarterly loss, after booking a $3.8 billion impairment charge to write down the value of its Lumwana copper asset. Even so, its shares were slightly higher in pre-market trading.

* Rio Tinto's new chief signaled he would slash costs, focus on selling weak assets and spend more carefully after the world's no.3 miner reported a $3 billion full-year loss, its first ever.

* Cenovus Energy Inc reported a fourth-quarter operating loss as it wrote down the value of its natural gas assets in southeast Alberta, and said it expects more pressure on costs this year due to higher fuel and power prices.

* Encana Corp, Canada's largest natural gas producer, posted a 28 percent rise in fourth-quarter operating profit, helped by its hedging program.

* Pepsico reported a higher quarterly profit, helped by increases in sales volume and prices.

MARKET SNAPSHOT

* Canada stock futures traded down 0.40 percent

* U.S. stock futures , , were down around 0.26 percent to 0.44 percent

* European shares, were down

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 301.0247; fell 0.01 percent

* Gold futures : $1,646.8; rose 0.16 percent

* US crude : $97.14; rose 0.13 percent

* Brent crude : $117.44; fell 0.37 percent

* LME 3-month copper : $8,243; rose 0.21 percent

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd : The gold miner produced a record 1 million ounces of gold in 2012, but its fourth-quarter adjusted earnings fell short of analysts' expectations as higher costs squeezed margins.

* Kinross Gold Corp : The gold miner reported on Wednesday a fourth-quarter net loss as an impairment charge related primarily to its Tasiast gold mine in West Africa outweighed a boost in revenue.

* Niko Resources Ltd : The oil and gas producer doubled its third-quarter loss due to declining gas output from the Krishna Godavari D6 block off India's east coast.

* Penn West Petroleum Ltd : The conventional oil and gas producer posted a smaller fourth-quarter loss on gains from asset sales.

* Precision Drilling Corp : The oil and gas drilling contractor posted a fourth-quarter loss, its first in nine quarters, as it recorded charges related to decommissioning of some of its less-efficient rigs.

* Sun Life Financial Inc : The insurer said on Wednesday it rebounded to a stronger-than-expected fourth quarter profit from a year-earlier loss on the back of strong investments.

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Enbridge Income Fund Holdings Inc : CIBC cuts to sector performer from sector outperformer on relative valuation and near-term headwinds from possible lower returns on invested capital and raises price target to C$26.50 from C$25.75 on the company's potential drop-down assets.

* Orbit Garant Drilling Inc : CIBC cuts to sector underperformer from sector performer and price target to C$2 from C$3.25, citing challenges from past acquisitions, poor performance of the company's international business and its susceptibility to volatile market conditions.

* CAE Inc : CIBC cuts to sector performer from sector outperformer, says the company's share price is up 13 percent and near-term headwinds continue to persist.

* Russel Metals Inc : CIBC raises target price to C$32 from C$28.75 to reflect full-year benefits from Apex and improvements in volumes and pricing.

* Sun Life Financial Inc : CIBC raises price target to C$32 from C$28 after the company reported strong fourth-quarter results.

ON THE CALENDAR

* No major Canadian economic data scheduled for release .

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

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