May 20, 2016 / 1:03 PM / a year ago

CANADA STOCKS-Commodity prices help futures to trade higher

3 Min Read

(Adds economic data)

May 20 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index was set to open higher on Friday as commodity prices firmed with speculators closing out bearish positions before the weekend and as the U.S. dollar took a breather from recent rises.

June futures on the S&P TSX index were up 0.34 percent at 8:45 a.m. ET.

Data from Statistics Canada showed annual inflation rate rose as expected in April. The 1.7 percent rise last month was in line with economists' forecasts. The core inflation rate, which strips out some volatile items and is watched by the Bank of Canada, was more robust, rising to 2.2 percent.

Canadian retail sales fell more than expected in March, after two months of strong gains, as consumers bought fewer cars and home furnishings, data from Statistics Canada showed. The 1.0 percent decline exceeded economists' forecasts for a decrease of 0.6 percent, though February was revised slightly higher to a gain of 0.6 percent.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index pared losses after hitting a one-week low earlier on Thursday as the materials group rose more than 2 percent, offsetting declines in the financial and industrial stocks.

Dow Jones Industrial Average e-mini futures were up 0.22 percent at 8:45 a.m. ET, while S&P 500 e-mini futures were up 0.20 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures were up 0.31 percent.

(Morning News Call newsletter link.reuters.com/nex49s; The Day Ahead newsletter link.reuters.com/mex49s)

Top Stories

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will urge fellow leaders at a Group of Seven summit next week to invest in their economies to boost growth rather than focus on cutting costs.

Beleaguered Canadian drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc said it received a notice of default from bondholders for the delay in filing its first-quarter report.

COMMODITIES AT 8:45 a.m. ET

Gold futures : $1,257.40; +0.22 pct

US crude : $47.94; -0.46 pct

Brent crude : $48.52; -0.59 pct

LME 3-month copper : $4,622.00; +0.92 pct

Analyst Research Highlights

CAE Inc : CIBC raises target price to C$18 from C$17.50

Dragonwave Inc : CIBC cuts target price to C$25 from C$30

Paramount Resources Ltd : RBC raises target price to C$10 from C$9; rating "sector perform"

u.s. Economic Data Due on Friday

1000 Existing home sales for Apr: Expected 5.40 mln; Prior 5.33 mln

1000 Existing home sales percentage change for Apr: Expected 1.3 pct; Prior 5.1 pct

1030 ECRI weekly index: Prior 135.0

1030 ECRI weekly annualized: Prior 5.7 pct

For Canadian Markets News, Click on Codes:

TSX market report

Canadian dollar and bonds report

Reuters global stocks poll for Canada

Canadian markets directory ($1= C$1.31) (Reporting by Nikhil Kumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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