CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open lower as U.S. shutdown continues

Reuters

Oct 3 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index looked set for alower open on Thursday as the United States entered a third dayof a partial government shutdown, with no end in sight.

TOP STORIES

* The U.S. government shutdown is beginning to hit thefactory floor, with major manufacturers like Boeing and UnitedTechnologies warning of delays and employee furloughs in thethousands if the budget impasse persists.

* The nascent recovery in euro zone businesses strengthenedin September as order books filled at a faster rate and layoffsslowed to a trickle, surveys showed, pointing to very mildgrowth in the third quarter.

* Activity in China's services sector expanded at thefastest pace in six months in September as demand grew,cementing a modest pickup in the world's second-largest economy.

* Britain's service sector posted solid growth in September,rounding off its strongest quarter in more than 16 years, helpedby a recovery in the country's housing market, a survey showed.[ID: nL9N0GZ005]

* BP Plc won a legal reprieve in its effort to force theadministrator of a settlement related to the 2010 Gulf of Mexicooil spill to tighten standards in assessing claims, potentiallysparing the oil company billions of dollars of extra costs.

MARKET SNAPSHOT

* Canada stock futures traded down 0.18 percent

* U.S. stock futures , , were downaround 0.25 percent to 0.17 percent

* European shares, were down

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 286.9252;fell 0.03 percent

* Gold futures : $1,305.4; fell 1.15 percent

* US crude : $103.88; fell 0.21 percent

* Brent crude : $109.59; rose 0.37 percent

* LME 3-month copper : $7,245.35; fell 0.46 percent

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Agrium Inc : The fertilizer company said ChiefOperating Officer Chuck Magro would take over as CEO from MikeWilson, who retires on Dec. 31. Magro will join Agrium's boardimmediately, the company said.

* TransCanada Corp : The company expects testing onits Keystone XL crude pipeline to be completed in early Novemberand it will begin filling the line for the first time shortlyafterwards, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

ANALYSTS' RECOMMENDATIONS

Following is a summary of research actions on Canadiancompanies reported by Reuters.

* Aurico Gold Inc : Raymond James raises the ratingof its U.S. listed shares to outperform from market perform,says continued de-risking, coupled with a growing valuationdivide, presents opportunity.

* Perpetual Energy Inc : National Bank Financialraises rating to outperform from sector perform, says thecompany is relatively well positioned heading in to the winter,supported by solid catalysts, improving fundamentals andtailwinds from broader corporate themes.

* Vermilion Energy Inc : CIBC raises target price toC$65 from C$64 after it announced the acquisition of NorthernPetroleum's Netherlands operating subsidiary.

* Westport Innovations Inc : RBC cuts target priceto $27 from $28 on higher R&D and Capex assumptions.

ON THE CALENDAR

* No major Canadian economic data scheduled for the day

* Major U.S. events and data includes initial claims, ISMand factory orders data

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