CANADA STOCKS-TSX set to open lower, Italian borrowing costs weigh

Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:43pm GMT

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Feb 27 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index looked set to open slightly lower on renewed concerns about the euro zone debt crisis after Italian 10-year borrowing costs climbed more than half a percentage point.

TOP STORIES

* Italy's 10-year debt costs rose more than half a percentage point on Wednesday at the first longer-term auction since an inconclusive parliamentary election, although they remained below the psychologically important level of 5 percent.

* Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke strongly defended the U.S. central bank's monetary stimulus before Congress on Tuesday, easing financial market worries over a possible early retreat from bond purchases.

* JPMorgan Chase & Co said on Tuesday that it plans to cut 17,000 jobs by the end of 2014, representing about 6.6 percent of the company's overall workforce, as the bank sheds staff that helped it deal with bad home loans.

* The department store chain Sears Canada Inc said its fourth-quarter profit fell 3 percent on lower sales of hardware and home electronic goods.

* Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's biggest beer maker, forecast a weak start to the year in the U.S. and Brazil after slightly lower earnings than expected in the final months of 2012.

MARKET SNAPSHOT

* Canada stock futures traded down 0.03 percent

* U.S. stock futures , , were mixed in the range of -0.01 percent to 0.22 percent

* European shares, were up

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 293.9979; rose 0.1 percent

* Gold futures : $1,605.3; fell 0.6 percent

* US crude : $92.77; rose 0.15 percent

* Brent crude : $113.07; rose 0.32 percent

* LME 3-month copper : $7,873.5; rose 0.19 percent

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Bank of Montreal : CIBC raises target price to C$66 from C$65 on the company's strong U.S. core loan growth.

* Maple Leaf Foods Inc : CIBC raises target price to C$14 from C$13 on the company's strong fourth-quarter results.

* Parkland Fuel Corp : CIBC raises to sector outperformer from sector performer, cuts price target to C$19.50 from C$20.50 to reflect the company's improved earnings visibility, compelling yields, coherent growth strategy and improved balance sheet.

* Calfrac Well Services Ltd : RBC raises target price to C$30 from C$27 citing the company's constructive Canadian outlook and near-term growth opportunities focused on Latin America.

* Iamgold Corp : SocGen cuts target price to C$8.40 from C$9.60 to reflect execution risks at the company's Essakane and Rosebel projects.

ON THE CALENDAR

* No major Canadian economic data scheduled for release

* Major U.S. events and data includes pending home sales and durable goods

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