May 17 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index looked set to open lower on Tuesday, weighed down by soft commodity prices and unexpectedly weak U.S. housing data.
* Canadian equity futures <0#SXF:> pointed to a lower open.
* The S&P 500 and Dow index futures turned negative on Tuesday after data showed U.S. housing starts and permits fell in April. [.N]
* European shares edged lower, weighed on by persistent peripheral euro zone debt concerns with OMV (OMVV.VI) among the top fallers after a refinancing plan. [.EU]
* Nikkei inched higher, helped by a weaker yen, but the gains were limited by a slide in the utility sector, dragged down by Tokyo Electric Power Co.
* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities benchmark, fell 0.16 percent in early trade.
* U.S. crude oil futures dipped in choppy trading on Tuesday as traders weighed forecasts that domestic petroleum inventories rose across the board last week and as the dollar rose. [O/R]
* Gold rose as the dollar eased from a seven-week high against the euro, relieving downward pressure on prices, while lingering concerns over euro zone debt supported demand for the metal as a haven from risk. [GOL/]
* Copper rose as the euro advanced against the dollar ahead of a series of U.S. economic reports, while signals that Chinese consumers are returning to the market underpinned prices. [MET/L]
* Vermilion Energy Inc. (VET.TO): The oil and gas company said it shut about 1,300 barrels of oil per day of production in the Slave Lake area in Alberta where wildfires are raging since Sunday. [ID:nL4E7GH1MX]
* HudBay Minerals HBM.TO: The base metal and precious metal miner said on Monday its first-quarter earnings rose 59 percent, as higher metal prices helped boost profits and said it was on track to meet its 2011 production forecast. [ID:nL4E7GH019]
* VMS Ventures VMS.V: The mineral explorer said it found high-grade copper at its Super Zone property in the Canadian province of Manitoba. [ID:nL4E7GH1L7]
* Enerplus Corp. ERF.TO: The oil and gas company agreed to sell its non-operated natural gas properties in the massive Marcellus shale formation in the United States for $575 million in order to pay down debt. [ID:nN1640596]
* Arise Technologies APV.TO: The green energy company said production at its German photovoltaic cell plant has been temporarily reduced due to higher inventory levels and tough market conditions. [ID:nL4E7GG3XP]
* Extorre Gold Mines XG.TO: The miner said it received environmental permits for its flagship Cerro Moro mine in Santa Cruz, Argentina, which will help the company proceed with development of the project. [ID:nL4E7GH1L3]
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters. [RCH/CA]
* Anderson Energy Ltd AXL.TO price target cut to C$1.20 from C$1.25; rating sector perform at National Bank
* C&C Energia Ltd CZE.TO price target cut to C$20 from C$21 at CIBC
* Canwel Building Materials Group (CWX.TO) price target cut to C$4.50 from C$5.50; rating outperform at Raymond James
* Exchange Income Corp (EIF.TO) price target raised to C$26 from C$24; rating outperform at Raymond James
* Power Corp Of Canada POW.TO price target raised to C$31.75 from C$31.25 at CIBC
* Trinidad Drilling Ltd (TDG.TO) price target raised to C$13 from C$12.50 at CIBC; rating raised to strong buy from outperform at Raymond James
$1= $0.97 Canadian Reporting by Shrutee Sarkar; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson