CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open lower; China data drags

Thu Jan 23, 2014 9:17am EST

Jan 23 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index looked set to extend the previous session's losses on Thursday as weaker-than-expected manufacturing data from China overshadowed strong economic figures from the euro zone.

TOP STORIES

* The global economy started 2014 on a disjointed note, with the euro zone's private sector in better shape than expected and China's vast manufacturing industry contracting for the first time in six months.

* Carl Icahn has taken a stake in eBay Inc and is proposing a spinoff of its fast-growing PayPal division. The e-commerce company rebuffed the overture, setting the stage for a potential battle with the activist investor.

* Top U.S. weapons maker Lockheed Martin Corp reported a lower-than-expected profit after charges linked to U.S. defense budget cuts and workforce reductions, but said it expected higher earnings this year.

* Lenovo Group Ltd said it would buy IBM Corp's server business for $2.3 billion as the Chinese PC company grabs another piece of the computing world in a long-awaited deal.

* Nokia reported a 22 percent fall in sales at its core NSN network equipment division, highlighting the problems facing management once it completes the sale of its former flagship phones business to Microsoft for 5.4 billion euros.

MARKET SNAPSHOT

* Canada stock futures traded down 0.27 percent.

* U.S. stock futures were down.

* European shares were down.

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 282.7671; rose 0.58 percent

* Gold futures : $1,239.3; rose 0.02 percent

* U.S. crude : $96.98; rose 0.26 percent

* Brent crude : $107.89; fell 0.35 percent

* LME 3-month copper : $7,272.75; fell 0.26 percent

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Barrick Gold Corp : The company said on Wednesday that it had agreed to sell its Kanowna gold mine in Western Australia to Northern Star Resources Ltd for A$75 million to focus on its lower-cost mines.

* Saputo Inc : Australia's Murray Goulburn Co-operative Co Ltd agreed to sell its 17.7 percent stake in Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Co Holdings Ltd to rival bidder Saputo, bowing out of the hotly contested bidding battle.

ANALYSTS' RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Ithaca Energy Inc Imperial Capital raises price target to C$3.30 from C$3.05, says the company is close to a substantial increase in free cash flow generation once its well at Stella starts producing.

* WesternZagros Resources Ltd : Wood Co cuts target price to C$1.60 from C$2.68, driven mainly by the failed K-3 exploration well and the company's recent announcement that it is to relinquish three plays in the Garmian license area.

ON THE CALENDAR

* Major Canadian economic data include retail sales.

* Major U.S. events and data includes jobless claims, Markit manufacturing PMI, home sales and lead indicators.

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