CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open lower after soft U.S. economic data

Reuters

Feb 18 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index, which touched its highest level in nearly three years in the previous session, looked set for a weaker start on Tuesday after data showed manufacturing activity in New York state slowed in February.

TOP STORIES

* Generic drugmaker Actavis Plc said it would acquire specialty pharmaceuticals company Forest Laboratories Inc in a cash and stock deal valued at about $25 billion.

* Duke Energy Corp reported a rise in quarterly earnings, helped by lower costs and regulatory approvals of requests to raise utility rates.

* British inflation last month fell below the Bank of England's target level for the first time in over four years, further bolstering the BoE's message that there is no rush to raise interest rates.

* Global miner BHP Billiton topped market forecasts with a 31 percent rise in first-half profit and hinted it may launch a share buyback in August, despite a cautious outlook on Chinese growth.

MARKET SNAPSHOT

* Canada stock futures traded lower

* U.S. stock futures , , were lower

* European shares, were mixed

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 293.88; was unchanged 0 percent

* Gold futures : $1,314.8; fell 0.32 percent

* US crude : $101.14; rose 0.84 percent

* Brent crude : $109.67; rose 0.45 percent

* LME 3-month copper : $7,173.5; rose 0.01 percent

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd : The company is slapping a surcharge on customers who transport crude in older tank cars, following its larger rival in seeking to deter shippers from using the model involved in a series of fiery crashes.

ANALYSTS' RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Canadian Tire Corp. CIBC raises target price to C$114 from C$107 stating that the company's fourth-quarter results were well ahead of estimates

* Calloway REIT. CIBC cuts target price to C$27 from C$28 considering its lower interest income, higher G&A and interest expense offsetting any increase in its FFO/unit

* CGI Group. CIBC raises rating to sector outperformer from sector performer citing that concerns around its health exchange contract are overblown and sees it performing well in the second quarter

* Difference Capital Financial. NBF starts with outperform rating and target prices of C$3.40, sees growth opportunity as it enters a strategic tech cycle

* Just Energy. NBF raises rating to outperform from sector perform based on its fourth-quarter results and sees it benefitting from the improving US housing market and export markets in Asia

ON THE CALENDAR

* No major Canadian economic data

* No major U.S. events and data

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