CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open flat on Ukraine concerns; Yellen in focus

Thu Feb 27, 2014 8:42am EST

Feb 27 (Reuters) - Canadian stock index futures pointed to a flat open on Thursday as concerns over escalating political and military tension in Ukraine and Russia kept investors on the edge. Markets will also watch for U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's testimony later in the day. TOP STORIES * In Ukraine's Crimea, armed men seized the regional government headquarters and parliament and raised the Russian flag, alarming Kiev's new rulers, who urged Moscow not to abuse its navy base rights on the peninsula by moving troops around. * Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc, Canada's largest listed drugmaker, swung to a quarterly profit driven by the acquisition of contact lens maker Bausch & Lomb Holdings Inc. * Toronto-Dominion Bank said its first-quarter profit rose 15 percent on the back of stronger wholesale banking and U.S. retail banking income, and the lender boosted its dividend by 9 percent. * Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce said its first-quarter profit jumped by 50 percent, driven by stronger domestic lending profits and a C$183 million gain on the sale of half of its Aeroplan credit card portfolio to Toronto-Dominion Bank. * Maple Leaf Foods, which has been replacing production facilities and setting up a new distribution system, reported a quarterly loss that it blamed on the "tremendous" costs of the restructuring.MARKET SNAPSHOT * Canada stock futures traded up 0.06 percent * U.S. stock futures , , were down around 0.04 percent to 0.21 percent * European shares, were down COMMODITY PRICE MOVES * Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 302.3327; rose 0.02 percent * Gold futures : $1,330.3; rose 0.17 percent * US crude : $102.53; fell 0.06 percent * Brent crude : $108.9; fell 0.57 percent * LME 3-month copper : $7,013.75; fell 0.17 percent CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH * Coastal Contacts Inc : Essilor International will buy Coastal, a digital retailer of eyeglasses and contact lenses, for C$430 million. * Taseko Mines Ltd : Canada's government has blocked the development of a controversial copper and gold mine owned by the company, the second time in just over three years that it has halted the mine plan. * TransCanada Corp : The State Department acted properly in its choice of an outside contractor to review the company's Keystone XL oil pipeline, a U.S. report said on Wednesday, raising calls by the project's supporters for President Barack Obama to approve it. ANALYSTS' RECOMMENDATIONS Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters. * Argent Energy Trust : CIBC cuts to sector performer from sector outperformer, says that the company's improvements in the cost structure are taking longer than earlier thought, sees production and liquid estimates decreasing * Calfrac Well Services Ltd : Barclays cuts price target to C$42 from C$46 based on the company's net costs associated with the Mission deal and its reduced fourth-quarter EPS * Trican Well Service Ltd : Barclays cuts price target to C$19 from C$20 after the company's fourth-quarter results missed estimates * TeraGo Inc : CIBC cuts to sector underperformer from sector performer citing weak fourth-quarter results and cautions over the company's transition to IT services ON THE CALENDAR * Major Canadian economic data includes current account * Major U.S. events and data includes initial and continuing claims, durable goods and building permits

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