CANADA STOCKS-TSX set to open higher as oil, commodities rise

April 8 (Reuters) – Toronto’s main stock index looked set
to open higher on Friday, as expectations of strong demand and
possible shortages helped push oil and other commodity prices
higher.

FACTORS TO WATCH

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

* The Canadian dollar hit its highest level in over three
years after traders digested the positive details of an
initially disappointing jobs report. [CAD/]

* U.S. stock index futures rose, led by energy and material
stocks, as optimism about increased economic demand pushed
commodity prices higher. [.N]

* European shares headed for their highest close in more
than a month, with miners up as metals prices were boosted by
an improving economic outlook and a weaker dollar. [.EU]

* Asian markets were up but the Sensex bucked the trend
closing 0.7 percent lower, as traders opted to book gains after
the sharp gains in March.

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index (.CRB: Quote, Profile, Research), a global
commodities benchmark, rose 0.63 percent in early trade.

* Brent crude (LCOc1: Quote, Profile, Research) rose $2 after attacks on Libyan oil
fields raised the prospect of long-term supply outages as the
conflict appeared to move towards a stalemate. [O/R]

* Gold hit record highs and silver its strongest since
early 1980 as the dollar slid to 15-month lows versus the euro,
with concerns over euro zone debt and unrest in the Middle East
region further supporting buying. [GOL/]

* Copper rose about 2 percent to its highest in a month as
market sentiment improved with investors focusing on
expectations of increasing demand. [MET/L]

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Teck Resources Ltd. (TCKb.TO: Quote, Profile, Research): Union workers at company’s
Elkview coal mine in British Columbia on Thursday ratified a
five-year agreement, ending a more than two-month long strike
at the site. [ID:nN07119693]

* Loblaw Cos (L.TO: Quote, Profile, Research): The grocer said on Thursday it plans
to buy back up to 5 percent of its shares outstanding through a
normal course issuer bid. [ID:nN07292640]

* Equinox Minerals (EQN.TO: Quote, Profile, Research): The company said a $6.6
billion bid from China’s Minmetals Resources was too low,
leaving the door open to a rival offer as miners vie for access
to valuable copper deposits. [ID:nL3E7F801Y]

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$5.50
at CIBC

* Canadian National Railway Co (CNR.TO: Quote, Profile, Research) price target raised
to C$82 from C$80 at CIBC

* Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd (CP.TO: Quote, Profile, Research) price target cut to
C$68 from C$74 at CIBC

* Coastal Contacts Inc (COA.TO: Quote, Profile, Research) price target raised to buy
from hold at Octagon

* Open Range Energy Corp (ONR.TO: Quote, Profile, Research) price target raised to
C$6 from C$4.40; rating outperform at National Bank

* Surge Energy (SGY.V: Quote, Profile, Research) price target raised to C$11.25 from
C$11; rating outperform at National Bank

($1= $0.95 Canadian)
(Reporting by Kishan Nair; editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)

CANADA STOCKS-TSX set to open higher as oil, commodities rise