Toronto stock index set for mixed opening

Thu Aug 7, 2008 9:06am EDT
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*TSX could get a boost from oil and gold prices

*U.S. results, jobless claims may weigh on index

*Canadian Natural may be in focus after results

TORONTO, Aug 7 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index was set to open mixed on Thursday, on firmness in oil and gold prices and as big names like Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote) reported quarterly results.

The price of oil rose to around $121 a barrel, while the gold price also firmed.

The commodity-related groups had provided the main impetus for big gains on Wednesday, as investors returned to stocks that were battered earlier this week.

"I think energy will be a very strong influence," said Joe Ismail, technical analyst at Maison Placements Canada.

"The senior oil stocks have sort of sold off very quickly. they are at a comfortable zone where I can see bargain-hunters sneaking in, picking up and choosing."

He said firmness in gold may support the index.   Continued...