July 22 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index looked set to open higher on Friday, buoyed by some positive earnings from U.S. companies like General Electric and hopes a Greek rescue package will contain Europe’s debt crisis.
* Canadian equity futures <0#SXF:> pointed to a higher open.
* U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Friday as Caterpillar’s profit missed estimates, offsetting a strong report from GE and an agreement on a Greece rescue package. [.N]
* European shares rose for a fourth day after Greece’s new rescue package buoyed banking stocks and strategists said low price-earnings multiples could underpin the market longer-term despite residual unease about euro zone debt levels. [.EU]
* Markets in Asia were up with Tokyo stocks climbing to a two-week high led by banks that jumped on Morgan Stanley’s strong results.
* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities benchmark, rose 0.34 percent in early trade.
* Oil rose to just under $118 as Europe’s latest attempts to resolve the debt crisis and signs of progress on a U.S. deficit reduction deal offset weak economic data from the world’s second-largest oil consumer, China. [O/R]
* Gold firmed, erasing earlier losses, as reservations over this week’s bailout plan for debt-laden Greece and concerns over negotiations on raising the U.S. debt ceiling supported interest in the metal as a safe store of value. [GOL/]
* Copper firmed, supported by a weaker dollar against the euro, stronger investment demand, worries about supplies from Chile and receding worries about demand from top consumer China. [MET/L]
* Precision Drilling Corp. (PD.TO): The oil and gas drilling contractor reported a second-quarter profit and said it continues to see strong customer demand in Canada and the United States for additional Tier 1 rigs. [ID:nL3E7IM1EX]
* First Uranium Corp. FIU.TO: Africa’s biggest gold miner AngloGold Ashanti said it would acquire a 19.79 percent stake in First Uranium for $30 million. [ID:nL3E7IM0R8]
* Enbridge Inc. (ENB.TO): The operator of North America’s largest oil pipeline system said on Thursday it would ration space on two oil pipelines on its massive export system for August due to high nominations and capacity restrictions.[ID:nL3E7IL3OJ]
* Augen Gold Corp. GLD.V: The junior miner said it will renew drilling in the West Cote Lake area after it discovered new gold targets there. [ID:nL3E7IL4BO]
* Research In Motion RIM.TO: The BlackBerry maker’s PlayBook has become the first tablet officially approved for use in U.S. federal agencies, a rare bit of good news in RIM’s struggle to make headway against Apple’s iPad. [ID:nWNA4315]
* Thomson Reuters Corp. (TRI.TO): The news and information provider said Markets division head Devin Wenig is leaving the company and that it is reorganizing the unit, where growth has been “somewhat slower than anticipated” in the second quarter. [ID:nN06295023]
* TMX Group (X.TO): The exchange operator will enter talks with a Canadian consortium on its takeover by the consortium, which is offering C$3.8 billion, opening the door for a friendly deal. [ID:nN1E76K29L]
* Vitran Corp. VTN.TO: The trucking company posted a wider-than-expected quarterly loss, despite a 23 percent rise in revenue, hurt partly by weakness in its U.S. operations. [ID:nL3E7IL4AR]
* West Fraser Timber Co Ltd. (WFT.TO): The softwood producer reported a drop in quarterly earnings as low U.S. housing starts and economic uncertainty cut into lumber and panel prices. [ID:nN1E76K1VM]
* TransGlobe Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust (TGA_u). The REIT said it would acquire C$740 million worth of properties from its affiliate TransGlobe Investment Management Ltd. [ID:nN1E76K217]
* Dundee Real Estate Investment Trust D_u.TO: The REIT said on Thursday it would buy 29 office properties from affiliates of Blackstone Real Estate Advisors LP and Slate Properties Inc in a C$831.8 million deal that ranks as the largest of its kind involving a Canadian REIT. [ID:nN1E76K217]
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters. [RCH/CA]
* Bird Construction Inc BDT.TO price target raised to C$13.50 from C$12 at CIBC
* CGI Group Inc (GIBa.TO) rating cut to sector perform from outperform, price target cut to C$25 from C$26 at National Bank.
* Sulliden Gold SUE.TO price target raised to C$3.30 from C$2.70 at Fraser Mackenzie.
$1= $0.95 Canadian Reporting by Karan Khemani; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson