CANADA STOCKS--TSX may open lower on Italian crisis

Reuters

Feb 13 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index looked set to open lower on Thursday as a fresh crisis in the Italian government coupled with disappointing European corporate results hit investor sentiment.

TOP STORIES

* Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta faces a showdown with his own centre-left party on Thursday that could lead to his resignation and the appointment of Democratic Party leader Matteo Renzi as head of a new government within days.

* Canadian plane and train maker Bombardier Inc reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit due to a fall in gross margin and forecast a slowdown in revenue growth at its rail unit this year.

* Barrick Gold Corp reported a big fourth-quarter loss on Thursday as it took another impairment charge, cut its gold reserve estimate by 26 percent and said a key cost measure might rise this year.

* Manulife Financial Corp reported a 20 percent rise in fourth-quarter profit as stronger mutual fund sales and a C$350 million gain on the sale of its Taiwan insurance business offset weaker insurance sales, but results still fell short of estimates.

* Encana Corp, Canada's largest natural gas producer, reported a smaller-than-expected fall in quarterly operating profit as the company ramped up production of liquids such as light oil and condensate.

MARKET SNAPSHOT

* Canada stock futures traded down 0.13 percent

* U.S. stock futures , , were down in the range of 0.44 to 0.59 percent

* European shares, were down

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 291.5127; fell 0.3 percent

* Gold futures : $1,291; fell 0.33 percent

* US crude : $99.82; fell 0.55 percent

* Brent crude : $108.51; fell 0.26 percent

* LME 3-month copper : $7,113.25; fell 0.58 percent

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Home Capital Group : The mortgage lender said on Wednesday it would split its stock and reported a 17 percent rise in fourth-quarter profit and a 14 percent dividend rise.

* Kinross Gold Corp : The miner said on Wednesday that a "rigorous" review of its mine plans led to slashing its gold reserves by a third, even as it reported a narrower fourth-quarter net loss compared to the same period last year.

* Sun Life Financial Inc : The life insurer reported better-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday, helped by higher assets under management and a C$290 million gain related to the restructuring of internal reinsurance arrangements.

* Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd : The miner slashed its quarterly dividend to 8 cents per share from 22 cents, saying the reduction reflects current market conditions as gold is trading about $100 per ounce lower than its realized price in 2013.

* Turquoise Hill Resources : The company said year to date sales volume from its Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine in Mongolia has fallen short of expectations, citing post-commissioning issues.

* Teck Resources Ltd : The diversified miner reported a 45 percent drop in quarterly adjusted profit, hurt by lower prices of coal and copper.

* Cenovus Energy Inc : The oil and gas producer reported a smaller fourth-quarter net loss, helped by higher production at its Christina Lake oil sands project in northern Alberta.

ANALYSTS' RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Birchcliff Energy Ltd : CIBC raises target price to C$11.75 from C$10.25 based on strong resource growth in the fourth quarter

* Bonterra Energy Corp : CIBC raises target price to C$63 from C$62.50, on the company's strong fourth-quarter production results and solid reserve additions

* FirstService Corp : CIBC raises target price to C$56 from C$50, says the company's fourth-quarter results were strong, with revenues and adjusted EPS beating estimates

* Sun Life Financial Inc : CIBC raises price target to C$40 from C$39 on the company's better-than-expected fourth-quarter results

* Thomson Reuters Corp : CIBC cuts target price to $35 from $37 citing the company's messy fourth-quarter results and weak 2014 outlook

ON THE CALENDAR

* Major Canadian economic data includes new housing PI

* Major U.S. events and data include Initial Claims and Retail Sales

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