CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open little changed; China, Ukraine worries weigh

Reuters

March 13 (Reuters) - Canadian stock index futures looked set to open flat to slightly higher in cautious trading on Thursday, but concerns surrounding China's growth and Ukraine's continued political tensions could cap gains.

TOP STORIES

* Concerns over Chinese growth and political tensions in Ukraine took the fizz out of an attempted rally in riskier assets on Thursday, as world shares steadied after their biggest falls for nearly two weeks.

* Canadian home prices rose in February, pushing a national index of prices to a record high for the second month in a row, the Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index showed on Wednesday.

* Empire Co Ltd reported a steep fall in quarterly profit, hurt by higher inventory losses and higher costs due to a weaker Canadian dollar.

* Tour operator Transat AT Inc reported a bigger quarterly loss as a weak Canadian dollar pushed up operating expenses.

MARKET SNAPSHOT

* Canada stock futures traded up 0.04 percent

* U.S. stock futures , , were up

* European shares, were mixed

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 303.8724; rose 0.07 percent

* Gold futures : $1,372.1; rose 0.13 percent

* US crude : $98.35; rose 0.37 percent

* Brent crude : $107.92; fell 0.09 percent

* LME 3-month copper : $6,473.5; fell 0.48 percent

ANALYSTS' RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Ag Growth International Inc : CIBC cuts target price to C$46.50 from C$48 to reflect unrest in Ukraine which effects the long-term growth in the Black Sea area.

* Crescent Point Energy Corp : CIBC raises price target of C$50.50 from C$49.50 based on the company's above-consensus fourth-quarter results and strong reserves driven by technological innovation

* Healthlease Properties Real Estate Investment Trust : CIBC raises target price to C$12 from C$11.50, says the company's increase in FFO comes as a result of contributions from accretive acquisitions, property development and interest income

* Newalta Corp : CIBC raises target price to C$20 from C$19.50 citing the company's new strategic direction and expected high return growth in the Heavy Oil segment

* Semafo Inc : CIBC raises target price to C$5.50 from C$5, says Mana bouncing back in a big way in 2014 with the addition of two new highgrade sources, sees grade to increase by more than 50 percent

ON THE CALENDAR

* Major Canadian data include new housing PI and capacity utilization

* Major U.S. data includes initial and continuing claims, retail sales and business inventories

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