CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open higher, focus on Potash bid

Aug 18 (BestGrowthStock) – Toronto’s main stock index looked set to
open higher on Wednesday, with much of the market’s focus on
BHP Billiton’s (BHP.AX: ) (BLT.L: ) attempt to buy Potash Corp
(POT.TO: ).

BHP, the world’s largest miner, launched a hostile $39
billion bid for Potash, the world’s top fertilizer maker, after
the Canadian group rejected this year’s biggest takeover offer.
[ID:nSGE67H031]

BHP is also set to announce a syndicated loan of more than
$40 billion as it gives further details of its hostile bid,
banking sources said. [ID:nLDE67H0ZC]

FACTORS TO WATCH

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

* U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) index futures edged higher on Wednesday as
the S&P 500 struggled to make a sustained move above a key
technical level amid continued concerns about the health of the
economy. [.N]

* European shares slipped by midday on Wednesday, falling
from a one-week high hit a day earlier and holding below a key
resistance level, with oil majors pressured as crude prices
dipped on an increase in U.S. inventories. [.EU]

* Markets in Asia were mixed with the Nikkei gaining 0.9
percent as investors hunted for bargains following an
eight-month closing low the previous day.

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index (.CRB: ), a global
commodities benchmark, fell 0.27 percent in early trade.

* Oil prices fell to a one month low below $75 on Wednesday
after an industry report on Tuesday showed a sharp increase in
petroleum inventories in top consumer the United States. [O/R]

* Gold held broadly steady on Wednesday, taking cues from a
softer dollar while consolidating a recent run to 1-1/2 month
highs, with positive sentiment seen broadly intact as prices
managed to hold above $1,220 an ounce. [GOL/]

* Copper was little changed on Wednesday, having hit a
one-week high earlier in the day, as inventory declines offset
concerns about slowing demand in top metals consumer China.
[MET/L]

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO: ): Enbridge’s struggles mounted on
Tuesday as its U.S. affiliate said the oil spill that fouled a
Michigan river system could cost as much as $400 million and
regulators slapped it with a $2.4 million fine for a deadly
2007 explosion in Minnesota. [ID:nN17156822]

* Manulife Financial Corp (MFC.TO: ): North America’s biggest
life insurer said on Tuesday it sold C$900 million ($874
million) of five-year notes, confirming earlier reports by
Reuters. [ID:nN17132372]

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Magma Energy (MXY.TO: ) target price cut to C$1.75 from
C$2.20; rating outperform at Raymond James

* Niko Resources (NKO.TO: ) target price raised to C$90 from
C$85; rating market perform at Raymond James

($1=$1.03 Canadian)
(Reporting by Bangalore newsroom, editing by Bhaswati
Mukhopadhyay and Jeffrey Hodgson)

CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open higher, focus on Potash bid