CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open lower, U.S. data in focus

Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:26am EST

Jan 17 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index futures pointed to a flat to slightly lower open on Friday with investors waiting to take cues from a slew of U.S. economic data including housing starts, building permits and industrial production.

TOP STORIES

* General Electric Co posted a rise in quarterly net profit, helped by strength in its businesses selling oil pumps and jet engines.

* Morgan Stanley reported a sharp fall in quarterly profit as the Wall Street bank was hit by $1.2 billion in legal bills but adjusted earnings beat market estimates.

* Royal Dutch Shell issued a "significant" profit warning, detailing across-the-board problems and the extent of the challenges facing the oil major's new boss Ben van Beurden, who took over two weeks ago.

* Schlumberger Ltd, the world's largest oilfield services company, reported a better-than-expected 22 percent jump in fourth-quarter profit as robust international drilling activity made up for weakness in North America.

* Intel Corp's earnings missed expectations by a penny in the fourth quarter due to weak spending on servers, and the chipmaker gave a lukewarm forecast for first-quarter revenue that did little to dispel concerns about a slowing PC industry.

* BNY Mellon Corp said that its fourth-quarter profit rose slightly as investment services fees increased 5 percent amid a buoyant stock market.

MARKET SNAPSHOT

* Canada stock futures traded down 0.03 percent

* U.S. stock futures , , were up around 0.11 percent to 0.34 percent

* European shares, were down

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 278.9367; fell 0.03 percent

* Gold futures : $1,239.7; fell 0.02 percent

* US crude : $94.64; rose 0.73 percent

* Brent crude : $106.31; rose 0.53 percent

* LME 3-month copper : $7,357; rose 0.64 percent

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Bombardier Inc : The company said a group led by its rail technology unit has signed a $4.1 billion contract with the Australian state of Queensland.

* Dollarama Inc : The dollar-store operator said December sales were hurt by severe winter weather and power outages.

* Saputo Inc : The company said on Friday its shareholding in Australia's Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Holdings Co has jumped to 46.17 percent, putting it close to majority control.

ANALYSTS' RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Alamos Gold Inc : CIBC cuts target price to C$15 from C$17 citing the company's reduced fourth-quarter production figures

* Oryx Petroleum Corporation Ltd : RBC raises to outperform from sector perform with target price to C$18 from C$17, given the company's regional exposure in Kurdistan, exploration-led strategy and financing requirements

* Saputo Inc : CIBC raises target price to C$53 from C$50, says acquisition of Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Holdings Co has strong strategic merits, and would give the company a platform to grow its exports to Asia

* Sierra Wireless Inc : Jefferies raises target to $20 from $16.75, believes management will be more focused on cost controls, likes the improved operating model and stability of M2M

ON THE CALENDAR

* No major Canadian economic data scheduled for release

* Major U.S. events and data includes housing starts, building permits, industrial production and University of Michigan sentiment index