March 17, 2011 / 12:34 PM / 7 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open higher on oil; Japan fear persist

TORONTO, March 17 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index looked set to open higher on Thursday after declining for three sessions, boosted by a rise in the price of oil and other commodities, even as Japan’s nuclear crisis and clashes in the Middle East weighed on investor sentiment.

FACTORS TO WATCH

* Canadian equity futures <0#SXF:> pointed to a higher open.

* U.S. stock index futures bounced back, a day after Wall Street wiped out much of its gains for the year, but increasing worry over Japan’s nuclear crisis was set to drive trading in another volatile day for markets. [.N]

* European share prices were higher, regaining some ground after a 7 percent slide over the past six sessions, but the rebound was seen as technical as Japan’s nuclear plant crisis kept investors on edge. [.EU]

* Asian shares fell and Japan’s domestic investors said they were posed to keep selling on rising yen volatility and a nuclear power plant crisis.

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities benchmark, rose 1.01 percent in early trade.

* Oil rose by more than $2 as tensions in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain felled fears of further supply disruption while investors weighed the impact on energy demand from quake-hit Japan. [O/R]

* Gold rose, sustained by a rise in ETF holdings, stronger physical demand and a weaker dollar, but investor selling to cover losses in other markets limited gains. [GOL/]

* Copper hit its highest in over a week as buyers moved back into the metal after Japan’s nuclear crisis drove it to three-month lows this week, but growing turmoil in the Asian economy hurt sentiment. [MET/L]

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Research In Motion RIM.TO: The company has big plans to make better use of its nerve center computers but will not be opening its servers to non-BlackBerry devices any time soon, a senior executive said on Wednesday. [ID:nN16259058]

* Enbridge Inc. (ENB.TO): The company said on Wednesday it reached a 10-year tolling deal with its shippers, aimed at allowing higher returns compared with regulated rates. [ID:nN16252646].

* Lululemon Athletica Inc. LLL.TO: The company posted a higher quarterly profit , beating market estimates, on robust demand for its yoga and athletic wear gear in the holiday season. [ID:nN16138953]

* Mega Brands Inc. MB.TO: The toymaker posted fourth-quarter profit compared with a loss a year earlier, due to strong contributions from both its own-branded products and licensed toys. [ID:nN16138321]

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters. [RCH/CA]

* Genivar Inc GNV.TO price target cut to C$36 from C$37.50; rating outperform at National Bank

$1= $0.99 Canadian Reporting by Shrutee Sarkar; editing by Jeffrey Hodgson

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