CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open flat; weak U.S. data weighs

Tue Feb 4, 2014 8:21am EST

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Feb 4 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index pointed to a flat open on Tuesday after weaker-than-expected U.S. economic data raised worries about a slowdown in the country's largest trading partner.

TOP STORIES

* BP reported a sharp drop in fourth-quarter profits partly due to weakness in its refining business, providing more evidence of difficult times across the "big oil" sector.

* WestJet Airlines Ltd reported an 11 percent rise in fourth-quarter profit as costs fell, and the company raised its dividend.

* Switzerland's UBS swung to a larger-than-expected fourth-quarter profit and announced higher dividends and bonuses, some reward for bucking trends to shrink its investment bank and reduce riskier activities.

* Suncor Energy Inc said on Monday it swung to a fourth-quarter profit of C$443 million as crude output from northern Alberta oil sands hit record highs.

* Wal-Mart Stores Inc said it would invest about $500 million this year to strengthen its presence in Canada, creating more than 7,500 jobs including construction.MARKET SNAPSHOT

* Canada stock futures traded up 0.06 percent

* U.S. stock futures , , were up around 0.23 percent to 0.39 percent

* European shares, were down COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 284.692; rose 0.16 percent

* Gold futures : $1,255.2; fell 0.41 percent

* US crude : $96.51; rose 0.08 percent

* Brent crude : $105.55; fell 0.46 percent

* LME 3-month copper : $7,058; rose 0.28 percent CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Silver Standard Resources : The company said it will buy the Marigold mine in Nevada for $275 million in cash from joint owners Goldcorp Inc and Barrick Gold in a deal that would provide the Canadian miner more exposure to gold. ANALYSTS' RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Aurora Oil & Gas Ltd : CIBC cuts target price to C$3.55 from C$3.85 on valuation as the company recognized a 47 percent increase to 1P and 69 percent increase to 2P reserves from its mid-year reserves

* Liquor Stores N.A. Ltd : National Bank Financial cuts target price to C$13 from C$15, anticipates that over time British Columbia Ministry of Justice recommended liquor regulatory changes will weigh on the company's financial results

* Western Forest Products Inc : CIBC raises target price to C$2.70 from C$2.30, expect the company will advance with improvements in global lumber prices ON THE CALENDAR

* No major Canadian economic data scheduled for the day

* Major U.S. events and data includes factory orders and durable goods

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