CANADA STOCKS-TSX set to open little changed; commodities steady

Dec 30 (BestGrowthStock) – Toronto’s main stock index looked set to
open little changed on Thursday, supported by steady commodity
prices, with investors likely to take cues from U.S. economic
data.

FACTORS TO WATCH

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

* U.S. stock index futures were little changed as
investors’ awaited economic data for insight on the strength of
the economic recovery heading into 2011. [.N]

* European equities hit their lowest level in more than a
week as a drop in crude oil prices dragged down energy shares,
while a fall in China Purchasing Mangers’ Index hurt market
sentiment. [.EU]

* Markets in Asia cemented gains largely but with an
exception to Nikkei which ended down, pressured by
profit-taking as the yen advanced to a fresh seven-week high
against the dollar.

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

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

* Oil prices slipped under $91 in thin trading volumes
before the release of the latest weekly U.S. oil inventory
data, which is expected to show a drawdown in crude stocks for
the fourth consecutive week. [O/R]

* Weakness in the U.S. dollar and a year-end flurry of
investment in commodities pushed gold to its highest in three
weeks, while palladium hit fresh nine-year highs after having
almost doubled in price this year. [GOL/]

* Copper hit a record high as London prices tracked
Shanghai, while a weaker dollar and widening market deficit
forecast for next year burnished the metal’s allure for
investors. [MET/L]

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Baffinland Iron Mines (BIM.TO: ): ArcelorMittal, the
world’s largest steel producer, late on Wednesday said it
extended the deadline on its takeover bid for the company, but
did not alter the terms of its offer. [ID:nN29294215]

* Research In Motion (RIM.TO: ): The BlackBerry-maker said on
Thursday the network data analysis system was a tool to gain
lawful access only to its consumer services including
BlackBerry Messenger, and does not enable access to highly
secure corporate emails on its devices. [ID:nSGE6BT04F]

* Luna Gold Corp (LGC.V: ): Armed robbers stolen an estimated
$2.1 million in gold from Aurizona mine in Brazil, the mining
company said on Wednesday. No employees were hurt in the
robbery, and the company said it had insurance to pay for the
loss. [ID:nN29290865]

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Dollarama Inc. (DOL.TO: ) price target raised to C$32 from
C$30; rating market perform at Raymond James

* Mullen Group (MTL.TO: ) price target raised to C$17 from
C$15.75; rating market perform at Raymond James

* Neo Material Technologies (NEM.TO: ) price target raised to
C$10 from C$8.50; rating buy at Mackie Research

($1= $1.00 Canadian)
(Reporting by Kishan Nair and Bangalore Newsroom; editing by
Jeffrey Hodgson)

CANADA STOCKS-TSX set to open little changed; commodities steady