April 5 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index was set to open lower on Friday after Canadian and U.S. jobs data came in much weaker than expected, raising concerns about the health of the North American economy.
* American employers hired at the slowest pace in nine months in March, a sign that Washington’s austerity drive could be stealing momentum from the economy. The economy added just 88,000 jobs last month.
* Canada posted the single worst monthly jobs loss in more than four years in March, another sign the economy is struggling to cope with weak foreign markets and a strong Canadian dollar.
* Walt Disney Co expects to begin layoffs at its studio and consumer product divisions within the next two weeks, according to two people with knowledge of the matter, in the latest cost-reduction step to emerge from a company-wide review.
* Samsung Electronics, the iPhone’s main adversary, estimated its January-March operating profit rose 53 percent to 8.7 trillion won as sales of mid-tier smartphones helped the South Korean giant tide over the off-peak season.
* Hewlett-Packard Chairman Ray Lane, who has come under fire from shareholders for his role in the acquisition of software company Autonomy Plc, has relinquished his post in the No.1 personal computer maker’s latest board shake-up.
* Boeing may carry out a certification test flight of its grounded 787 Dreamliner with a revamped battery system on Friday, a key step toward returning the state-of-the-art aircraft to flight, a U.S. government official said on Thursday.
* Canada stock futures traded down 0.71 percent
* U.S. stock futures , , were down around 0.5 to 0.6 percent
* European shares, were down
* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 288.3112; fell 0.23 percent
* Gold futures : $1,556.1; rose 0.28 percent
* US crude : $92.82; fell 0.47 percent
* Brent crude : $105.69; fell 0.61 percent
* LME 3-month copper : $7,419; fell 0.3 percent
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters.
* Africa Oil Corp : Goldman Sachs starts with neutral, says structurally positive on buying de-risked, basin-led exploration and view Africa Oil’s interests in East Africa as attractive
* H&R Real Estate Investment Trust : Canaccord Genuity cuts price target to C$27 from C$28 on valuation
* Major Canadian economic data includes employment, trade, and Ivey PMI.
* Major U.S. events and data includes non-farm payrolls, consumer credit and international trade