Feb 25 Toronto's main stock index looked set to open slightly higher on Friday, as a sharp pullback in oil prices calmed concerns that a recent surge in energy costs could derail the global recovery.
But the pullback was expected to weigh on energy stocks, which make up a large portion of the Canadian equities market.
FACTORS TO WATCH
* Canadian equity futures <0#SXF:> pointed to a higher open.
* The Canadian dollar rose to its highest in three years against the U.S. dollar, supported by elevated oil prices and as it broke through option barriers at C$0.98. [CAD/]
* U.S. stocks index futures rose after a week-long sell-off, adding to a late rebound in the previous session as oil prices stabilized. [.N]
* European shares extended gains, bouncing after a week-long decline, and with British shares rising on the resumption of trading at the London Stock Exchange (LSE.L) after technical issues. [.EU]
* Asian stocks rose, with shares of electric car makers and renewable energy companies among gainers, as the recent surge in oil prices raised the prospects of demand rising for alternative-energy vehicles and renewable energy sources.
COMMODITY PRICE MOVES
* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities benchmark, rose 0.10 percent in early trade.
* Oil retreated from highs as a senior industry official said top exporter Saudi Arabia had increased output to make up for any shortages as a result of a disruption to oil supplies from Libya. [O/R]
* Gold held near $1,400 an ounce in Europe, supported by interest in the metal as a haven from risk as violence flared in Libya, but struggled to maintain traction as some investors cashed in this week's hefty gains. [GOL/]
* Copper edged up, as positive U.S. economic data supported market sentiment but concerns remained about further interest rates increases in China which may slow economic growth and hit metals demand. [MET/L]
CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH
* Goldcorp (G.TO): The gold miner reported better than expected quarterly earnings on Thursday, as profits surged due to higher gold and silver prices and increased bullion production. [ID:nN24290403]
* Iamgold (IMG.TO): The gold miner reported a fourth-quarter profit that topped expectations on Thursday, as increased gold production and higher gold prices helped boost results. [ID:nN2484275]
* Onex Corp (OCX.TO): The private equity firm with diversified investments from movie theaters to healthcare reported a net fourth-quarter loss of C$3 million on Thursday compared to profit of C$40 million, a year ago. [ID:nN24298410]
* Enerplus Corp. (ERF.TO): The company said it produced 77,200 barrels of oil equivalent per day in December, about 4 percent lower than its forecast of 80,000-82,000 boed. [ID:nL3E7DP11N]
* Thompson Creek Metals (TCM.TO): The miner said on Thursday that its quarterly operating profit rose due to an increase in molybdenum sales volumes and a higher average realized sales price for the metal that is used to harden steel. [ID:nN23185877]
* TransForce Inc. (TFI.TO): The North American trucker posted a quarterly profit that beat analysts' expectations, helped by higher revenue at its package delivery and specialized services segments. [ID:nL3E7DN2EA]
* Minefinders Corp. MFL.TO: The Canadian precious-metals explorer reported higher fourth-quarter results on increased silver production, and forecast higher gold and silver production for 2011. [ID:nL3E7DO362]
* Gran Tierra Energy Inc. (GTE.TO): The oil and gas exploration company reported a nearly 60 percent drop in quarterly profit, hurt by increased operating expenses. [ID:nnASA01N8Q]
* NiMin Energy Corp. NNN.TO: The company said its proved reserves at end 2010 grew 45 percent, helped by successful drilling in Wyoming and positive results from a oil recovery project in California. [ID:nL3E7DP11Q]
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters. [RCH/CA]
* CIBC (CM.TO) price target raised to C$85 from C$82 at KBW
* Guestlogix Inc GXI.TO price target cut to C$1.50 from C$1.60; rating buy at Versant
* National Bank Of Canada (NA.TO) price target raised to C$78 from C$74; rating hold at TD Newcrest
* Stantec Inc. (STN.TO) target price raised by C$0.50 to C$30; rating hold at LB Securities
* SXC Health Solutions SXC.TO price target raised to $55 from $50; rating buy at Paradigm Capital
($1= $0.98 Canadian) (Reporting by Bangalore newsroom; editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)