CANADA STOCKS-TSX set to rise on higher oil, strong U.S. data

April 1 (Reuters) – Toronto’s resource-heavy main stock
index looked set to open higher on Friday, extending gains from
previous session, led by rising oil prices and U.S. data
showing a second straight month of solid job gains.

FACTORS TO WATCH

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

* U.S. stock index futures rose as U.S. employment recorded
a second straight month of solid gains and the jobless rate
fell to a two-year low. [.N]

* European shares bounced back on hopes strong U.S. jobs
data will signal a recovery in the labor market and show the
economic recovery was gathering pace, though equities faced
some technical resistance levels. [.EU]

* Asian shares outside Japan rose to their highest in
nearly three years, looking to extend a three-quarter winning
streak, while the yen slipped on the view Japanese interest
rates will stay near zero for a long time to help the
quake-ravaged economy.

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index (.CRB: Quote, Profile, Research), a global
commodities benchmark, fell 0.4 percent in early trade.

* U.S. and Brent crude futures prices initially pared gains
on Friday in choppy trading after a report showed more nonfarm
payrolls jobs and more private sector jobs were added in March
than had been expected. [O/R]

* Gold extended losses on Friday to fall 1 percent to a
session low at $1,419.60 an ounce after U.S. non-farm payrolls
data for March beat expectations. [GOL/]

* Copper trimmed losses on Friday after upbeat U.S. jobs
data lifted sentiment towards the health of the world’s biggest
economy. [MET/L]

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Maple Leaf Foods Inc. (MFI.TO: Quote, Profile, Research): The food processor said
it will sell its Berwick, Nova Scotia facility to Eden Valley
Poultry, a new company which is owned by United Poultry
Producers Inc and Maple Lodge Holding Corp. [ID:nL3E7F11TF]

* HudBay Minerals (HBM.TO: Quote, Profile, Research): The company said on Thursday it
has more than tripled the size of its copper reserves, largely
driven by the acquisition of the Constancia copper project in
Peru. [ID:nN31250460]

* Artis Real Investment Trust (AX_u.TO: Quote, Profile, Research): The REIT said it
acquired three properties in Minnesota and the Greater Toronto
Area in Ontario for about $104.3 million. [ID:nL3E7EV42Q ]

* Ram Power Corp. (RPG.TO: Quote, Profile, Research): The geothermal company reported
a narrower quarterly loss as expenses fell nearly 27 percent.
[ID:nL3E7F11WT]

* WebTech Wireless Inc. (WEW.TO: Quote, Profile, Research): The provider of
vehicle-tracking systems, said it expects to cut a fifth of its
workforce as it completes restructuring at one of its units.
[ID:nL3E7F11KQ]

* Exfo Inc. (EXF.TO: Quote, Profile, Research): The company posted quarterly results
below market estimates, and forecast lower-than-expected
third-quarter results, following a sequential decline in
bookings. [ID:nL3E7EV3TL]

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Azure Dynamics (AZD.TO: Quote, Profile, Research) price target raised to C$0.45
from C$0.40; rating outperform at National Bank

* CGI Group (GIBa.TO: Quote, Profile, Research) rating started with outperform;
target price of C$26 at National Bank

* Serica Energy Plc (SQZ.TO: Quote, Profile, Research) price target cut to C$0.60
from C$0.75; rating sector perform at RBC

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

CANADA STOCKS-TSX set to rise on higher oil, strong U.S. data