July 7 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index looked set to open higher on Thursday, boosted by a rise in commodity prices and some unexpectedly strong U.S. economic data.
News that U.S. private employers added far more jobs than expected in June boosted investors sentiment, offsetting the European Central Bank’s decision to raise interest rates for the second time this year.
* Canadian equity futures <0#SXF:> pointed to a higher open.
* U.S. stock index futures held gains after data showed new claims for unemployment benefits fell slightly more than expected last week. [.N]
* European shares resumed a rally after a brief dip the previous day. [.EU]
* Asian stocks were mixed with Tokyo stocks snapping a seven-day winning streak as utilities tumbled after the government proposed stress tests on nuclear reactors, sparking fears their restarts may be delayed, but the 10,000 line on the Nikkei held, boosting hopes for further gains.
* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities benchmark, rose 0.78 percent in early trade.
* Brent crude climbed for the third day to above $114, boosted by a higher-than-expected drop in U.S. crude stocks and growing investor appetite following bullish oil forecasts from major banks. [O/R]
* Copper inched up to its highest in more than two months as expectations of increasing demand from top consumer China, supply disruption in Chile and Indonesia and easing concerns over the Greek debt crisis boosted sentiment. [MET/L]
* Atco Ltd. ACOx.TO: The utility company said it has signed an agreement to acquire Western Australia Gas Networks for about A$356 million, a deal which will help it gain a foothold in Australia. [ID:nL3E7I70OE]
* Air Canada ACa.TO ACb.TO: The company and WestJet Airlines (WJA.TO) flew emptier planes in June but both were optimistic about a pickup during the busy travel months in the summer. [ID:nL3E7I61JZ]
* Husky Energy Inc. (HSE.TO): The company’s 155,000 barrel per day Lima, Ohio, refinery is expected back in production by the end of the week after completing repairs to a crude distillation unit furnace, a company spokeswoman said on Wednesday. [ID:nWEN5083]
* San Gold Corp. SGR.TO: The company said its gold production more than doubled in the second quarter, backed by increased crushing and milling system capacity. [ID:nL3E7I71HI]
* Cogeco Inc (CGO.TO) & Cogeco Cable (CCA.TO): The media and telecom company and its cable arm posted a quarterly loss hurt by a charge the unit took to write off its investment in Portugal. [ID:nL3E7I71GW]
* DragonWave Inc. DWI.TO: The telecom equipment maker posted its third straight quarterly loss on Wednesday, its fortunes still tied to major U.S. customer Clearwire Corp, which is seeking cash to build its network. [ID:nN1E7640UK]
* Sandvine Corp SVC.TO: The network equipment maker posted a steep decline in quarterly profit, hurt partly by higher expenses. [ID:nL3E7I71Q4]
$1= $.96 Canadian Reporting by Shrutee Sarkar; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson