CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open higher, helped by data, Mega Brands

Fri Feb 28, 2014 8:49am EST

Feb 28 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index looked set to open higher on Friday following slightly stronger than expected quarterly growth data, which helped offset worries surrounding Ukraine's political situation.

Shares of Mega Brands Inc were also expected to rise after Toymaker Mattel Inc said it agreed to buy Mega Brands for about $460 million, including debt, to expand its construction and arts and crafts offerings.

TOP STORIES

* Canada's economy grew at a greater-than-expected annualized rate of 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 after expanding by 2.7 percent in the third quarter, Statistics Canada data indicated on Friday.

* Euro zone inflation stabilised in what the European Central Bank has called the "danger zone" in February, data showed, while unemployment remained stuck near record highs ahead of an ECB policy meeting next week.

* Armed men took control of two airports in the Crimea region on Friday in what Ukraine's government described as an invasion and occupation by Russian forces, raising tension between Moscow and the West.

* German retail sales posted their strongest gain in seven years in January, reinforcing expectations that consumer spending will support growth in Europe's largest economy this year.

* Salesforce.com Inc raised its full-year revenue forecast and said it aims to improve its adjusted operating margin, after quarterly revenue grew more than expected on strong sales at ExactTarget, an email marketing firm it acquired in June.

MARKET SNAPSHOT

* Canada stock futures traded higher

* U.S. stock futures , , were down around 0.04 to 0.13 percent

* European shares, were down

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 301.3573; fell 0.3 percent

* Gold futures : $1,328.8; fell 0.21 percent

* US crude : $102.35; fell 0.05 percent

* Brent crude : $108.68; fell 0.26 percent

* LME 3-month copper : $7,035.25; rose 0.15 percent

ANALYSTS' RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Agrium Inc : Susquehanna raises target price to $115 from $110 citing the company's better-than-expected retail results in the fourth quarter and its dividend yield.

* Avigilon : CIBC raises target price to C$50 from C$32 on expectations that the company's fourth-quarter results will beat estimates when it reports results later next week

* Catamaran Corp : CIBC cuts to sector performer from sector outperformer based on the company's weak outlook for the year ahead, sees margin pressure into 2015

* Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc : BMO raises target price to $164 from $162 on the company's largely in-line fourth-quarter results, sees opportunities for improving overall operational efficiency

ON THE CALENDAR

* Major Canadian economic data include GDP

* Major U.S. events and data includes Chicago PMI and pending home sales data

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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