Mar 4 Toronto's main stock index looked set to
open lower after data showed euro zone investor sentiment fell
sharply and as automatic U.S. spending cuts officially took
effect on Friday after political leaders failed to agree on
steps to avoid them.
But TransCanada Corp shares are expected to get a
boost from a positive U.S. report on the company's contentious
Keystone XL pipeline, as are those of Canadian energy producers
under pressure from deeply discounted heavy oil prices.
* Euro zone sentiment fell sharply in March, halting a
six-month rise after an inconclusive election in Italy, the
region's third- largest economy, rattled investors. Italy
appeared to be inching toward another round of elections on
Monday after centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani issued an
ultimatum to 5-Star Movement leader Beppe Grillo to support a
temporary government or "we'll all go home".
* President Barack Obama raised anew the issue of cutting
entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security as a way out
of damaging budget cuts, a White House official said on Sunday,
as both sides in Washington tried to limit a fiscal crisis that
may soon hit millions of Americans.
* HSBC is to increase dividend payouts this year, a sign
that Europe's largest bank has regained its financial strength
even though full-year profits fell more than expected.
* U.S. silver miner Hecla Mining Co will buy Aurizon Mines
Ltd for about C$796 million to gain control of a gold
mine in Quebec, nearly a month after the company rejected an
unsolicited offer from Alamos Gold Inc.
* The Keystone XL oil pipeline got a boost on Friday when
the U.S. State Department said the project would not likely
change the rate at which Canada's oil sands are developed,
discounting warnings from environmentalists that it would lead
to a spike in greenhouse gas emissions.
* Canada stock futures traded down 0.1 percent
* U.S. stock futures , , were down
around 0.2 percent
* European shares, were mixed
COMMODITY PRICE MOVES
* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 290.8866;
rose 0.02 percent
* Gold futures : $1,578.2; rose 0.4 percent
* US crude : $90.73; rose 0.06 percent
* Brent crude : $110.53; rose 0.12 percent
* LME 3-month copper : $7,744; rose 0.53 percent
CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH
* Agrium Inc : The war of words between fertilizer
maker and its biggest shareholder, Jana Partners, escalated with
Agrium slamming the hedge fund's plan to split the company in a
letter to investors ahead of its annual meeting next month.
* Canadian Oil Sands Ltd : The largest-interest
owner in the Syncrude Project said that Syncrude's oil sands
operations produced an average of 240,000 barrels per day in
February, down about 13.5 percent from 277,600 bpd in January.
* DragonWave Inc : The telecom network equipment
maker said revenue for the fourth quarter would miss its
forecast, citing lower revenue from the microwave technology
business it bought from Nokia Siemens Networks last year.
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian
companies reported by Reuters.
* GMP Capital Inc : CIBC cuts to sector performer
from sector outperformer and cuts price target to C$8 from C$9,
does not expect the company's higher level of revenue to
continue in the current quarter since transaction volumes have
* Lundin Mining Corp : RBC raises to outperform from
sector perform and raises target price to C$6 from C$5.75,
citing the company's solid operating results, growth in zinc and
copper production, strong balance sheet and free cash flow.
* MCAN Mortgage Corp : National Bank Financial
raises to outperform from sector perform and raises target to
C$16 from C$14.50 on the company's strong results, lower balance
sheet risk and expanded market presence.
* Toronto-Dominion Bank : National Bank Financial
raises target price to C$94 from C$91 on the company's
fourth-quarter results and increased quarterly dividend.
* TransCanada Corp : Canaccord Genuity raises target
price to C$50 from C$49 after a report from the U.S. State
Department said the company's Keystone XL pipeline would not
have any substantial impact on the development of Canada's oil
ON THE CALENDAR
* No major Canadian economic data scheduled for release
* No major U.S. events and data scheduled for release