CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open higher as EU leaders meet

Dec 16 (BestGrowthStock) – Toronto’s main stock index pointed to a
slightly higher open on Thursday as European Union leaders meet
to tackle a year-long debt crisis that consumed Greece and
Ireland and threatens to spread to Portugal and Spain.

FACTORS TO WATCH

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

* U.S. stock index futures were slightly higher as investors
awaited data on jobs and housing and corporate earnings from
bellwether FedEx for signs of improvement in the economy. [.N]

* European stocks reversed early losses and turned flat
around midday as shares in Southern Europe dipped following
Spain’s bond auction. [.EU]

* Markets in Asia were largely flat.

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index (.CRB: ), a global
commodities benchmark, fell 0.06 percent in early trade.

* Oil fell to around $88 a barrel as mounting concerns over
the debt-crisis in the eurozone overshadowed a large drop in
crude oil stocks in the United States last week. [O/R]

* Gold firmed in Europe as the euro recovered some lost
ground against the dollar ahead of an EU summit later in the
day, at which leaders are trying to agree on further action to
tackle the region’s debt crisis. [GOL/]

* Copper fell about 1 percent as rising inventories weighed,
with risk sentiment hit by persistent debt concerns ahead of a
European Union summit called to find solutions to the region’s
debt crisis. [MET/L]

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* George Weston Ltd. (WN.TO: ): The food processor and
distributor said on Wednesday it will pay a special one-time
dividend of C$1 billion. The company said it will pay dividend
of about C$7.75 per share to shareholders of record Jan. 18.
[ID:nSGE6BE0CU]

* Baffinland Iron Mines (BIM.TO: ): Nunavut, backed by private
equity, has raised its hostile bid for the company by 69
percent, topping an offer from the world’s No. 1 steelmaker
ArcelorMittal as it goes after an iron ore deposit big enough
to supply all of Europe. [ID:nN16206372]

* Silvercorp Metals Inc. (SVM.TO: ): The company said it got a
mining permit with a 30-year term for its silver-lead-zinc
project in China’s Guangdong province. [ID:nSGE6BF07G]

ANALYST COMMENTS

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

* Asia Bio Chem Group (ABC.TO: ) price target raised to C$2
from C$1.75; rating outperform at Raymond James

* Gran Tierra Energy (GTE.TO: ) rating started with sector
performer at CIBC

* Petrominerales (PMG.TO: ) rating started with sector
outperformer at CIBC

* Stornoway Diamond (SWY.TO: ) price target raised to C$1 from
C$0.90; rating outperform at Raymond James

($1= $1.00 Canadian)

(Reporting by Kishan Nair and Bangalore Newsroom)

CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open higher as EU leaders meet