CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open firmer as commodities edge higher

April 7 (Reuters) – Toronto’s main stock index looked set
to opener slightly firmer on Thursday, with commodity prices,
including oil, mostly trading higher after U.S. jobless claims
data.

FACTORS TO WATCH

* Canadian equity futures (0#SXF:: Quote, Profile, Research) pointed to a higher
open.

* U.S. stock index futures held slight gains after the
release of data showing new claims for unemployment benefits
fell slightly more than expected last week. [.N]

* European shares hit their highest in a month, led by
banks, as strategists said a bailout for Portugal would give
stability to the market, and interest rate rises would not
derail equities’ advance. [.EU]

* Asian shares were lackluster, with the Nikkei crawling
up, as investors who had bet on falls in recent days realized
their gains, but markets elsewhere in the region lost some
ground.

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index (.CRB: Quote, Profile, Research), a global
commodities benchmark, rose 0.26 percent in early trade.

* U.S. crude futures moved higher after the release of data
showing new claims for unemployment benefits fell slightly more
than expected last week. [O/R]

* Gold held near $1,460 an ounce in Europe, just below the
previous session’s record high, ahead of a hotly anticipated
interest rates decision from the European Central Bank. [GOL/]

* Copper reached its highest in about two weeks, supported
by bullish comments from a key copper conference in Santiago,
while tin closed in on record highs. [MET/L]

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* MKS Inc. (MKX.TO: Quote, Profile, Research): Design-software maker Parametric
Technology Corp plans to buy software and services provider MKS
Inc for C$292.5 million in cash to strengthen its
software-intensive products development business.
[ID:nL3E7F71X6].

* Tekmira Pharmaceuticals (TKM.TO: Quote, Profile, Research): Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
Inc said the claims filed by its partner Tekmira
Pharmaceuticals in a lawsuit alleging misuse of trade secrets
and other confidential data regarding its gene-silencing
technology are without merit. [ID:nL3E7F634R]

* Air Canada (ACa.TO: Quote, Profile, Research) (ACb.TO: Quote, Profile, Research): The company said on
Wednesday it flew emptier planes in March and that it expects a
key earnings measure to be flat through the first six months of
the year. [ID:nN06262547]

* Gennum Corp. (GND.TO: Quote, Profile, Research): The company posted a first-quarter
profit above market estimates, helped by a slew of product
launches, and said it would acquire Nanotech Semiconductor for
$34 million in cash. [ID:nL3E7F637P]

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian
companies reported by Reuters. [RCH/CA]

* Air Canada (ACa.TO: Quote, Profile, Research) price target cut to C$4 from C$5.75;
rating outperform at National Bank; price target cut to C$4
from C$4.50; rating buy at Citigroup

* Alange Energy (ALE.V: Quote, Profile, Research) price target cut to C$0.35 from
C$0.45 at CIBC

* Canadian Natural (CNQ.TO: Quote, Profile, Research) price target raised to C$54
from C$49 at CIBC

* Husky Energy (HSE.TO: Quote, Profile, Research) price target raised to C$32 from
C$30 at CIBC

* Innergex Renewable Energy (INE.TO: Quote, Profile, Research) coverage resumed with
outperform rating; price target of C$10.50 at National Bank

* Orezone Gold (ORE.TO: Quote, Profile, Research) price target raised to C$7.25 from
C$6; rating speculative buy at Canaccord Genuity

* Canadian Utilities Ltd (CU.TO: Quote, Profile, Research) rating raised to
outperform; price target raised to C$60 from C$54 at Macquarie

($1= $0.96 Canadian)
(Reporting by Kishan Nair; editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)

CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open firmer as commodities edge higher