CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open higher, China data supports

Reuters

Jan 20 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index looked set to open flat to slightly higher on Monday as slightly better-than-expected economic data from China raised hopes of a recovery in the world's second largest economy.

TOP STORIES

* China's economy narrowly missed expectations for growth to hit 14-year lows in 2013, though some economists say a cooldown will be inevitable this year as officials and investors hunker down for difficult reforms.

* Japan can halve its budget deficit by fiscal 2015/16 thanks to higher tax income but more effort is needed for the country to meet its longer-term goal of balancing the budget, a government estimate showed.

* Deutsche Bank posted a surprise pre-tax loss of 1.15 billion euros for the fourth quarter and warned that 2014 would be another year of challenges and reform.

* Top Chinese offshore oil and gas producer CNOOC Ltd said it is aiming for an up to 4.3 percent output increase this year, excluding contributions from Canadian oil producer Nexen that it acquired a year ago.

* Anheuser-Busch InBev SA, the world's largest brewer, has agreed to buy South Korea's Oriental Brewery Co Ltd for $5.8 billion including debt, regaining ownership of a key Asian asset at a time of strong industry growth across the region.

MARKET SNAPSHOT

* Canada stock futures traded up 0.08 percent

* U.S. markets are closed for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

* European shares, were down

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 270.0093; was unchanged 0 percent

* Gold Futures : $1256.7; rose 0.38 percent

* US Crude : $93.98; fell -0.63 percent

* Brent Crude : $106.37; fell -0.10 percent

* LME 3-month Copper : $7315.50; fell -0.33 percent

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Enbridge Inc : A coalition of environmental groups on Friday launched a legal challenge to the preliminary approval last month for the oil major's C$7.9 billion Northern Gateway pipeline project, filing suit to prevent Canada's government from using the approval in its final decision on the line.

ANALYSTS' RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* AGF Management Ltd : CIBC raises price target to C$13.50 from C$12.50 on valuation, says earnings growth to take a backseat to strategic execution

* Total Energy Services Inc : CIBC raises price target to C$21 from C$19.50 after the company announced a preliminary 2014 capital program of $54 million, expects it to increase its budget as the year progresses

* Tricon Capital Group Inc : National Bank Financial starts with outperform and price target C$10 citing the company's reputation, track record and fundraising abilities

ON THE CALENDAR

* No major Canadian economic data scheduled for release

* No major U.S. events and data scheduled for release

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