TORONTO, Oct 7 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index was set to open higher on Friday after unexpectedly strong Canadian and U.S. jobs data fed optimism that the North American economy will avoid recession.
A whopping 60,900 new jobs, far more than expected, helped slice Canada's unemployment rate to 7.1 percent in September, boosting its currency and virtually ensuring the central bank won't cut rates any time soon. [ID:nN1E796020]
U.S. stock index futures turned positive after U.S. employment grew more than expected in September and job gains for the prior months were revised higher. [.N]
* Canadian equity futures <0#SXF:> pointed to a higher open.
* The Canadian dollar surged higher against its U.S. counterpart in early trade after the Canadian employment report came in far stronger than expected, with a big seasonal bump in teacher hiring. [CAD/]
* European shares edged up ahead of the key U.S. labour report. [.EU]
* Most Asian stocks rose on easing fears over Europe's banking sector, with the Nikkei up almost a percent. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ To receive an early e-mail of Reuters Morning News Call - Canada -- a preview of market moving news -- Thomson Reuters subscribers can register at [CA/MNC] ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities benchmark, rose 0.47 percent in early trade.
* Oil prices turned higher after U.S. jobs data. [O/R]
* Gold steadied set for its biggest weekly gain in a month after fresh European efforts to resolve the region's debt crisis gave investors more confidence to move out of the relative safety of cash. [GOL/]
* Copper rose, building on the previous session's gains, as efforts in Europe to contain the sovereign debt crisis drew buyers back. [MET/L]
* Avion Gold Corp AVR.TO: The company said third-quarter production at its mines in Mali, West Africa was below expectations, as technical difficulties and heavy rains led to lower grade ore recovery. [ID:nL3E7L71KY]
* Encana Corp (ECA.TO): The company, which is a key operator of the Cabin gas plant in British Columbia's Horn River Basin, said it would sell its 52 percent stake in the plant to Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO) for C$220 million. [ID:nL3E7L71FX]
* Agrium Inc. (AGU.TO): The fertiliser maker and farm products retailer is keen to build on its acquisition of Australia's AWB to expand further in Asia, a top company official said. [ID:nL3E7L709O]
* First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (FM.TO): The company said nickel production is set to resume by the end of 2011 from Australia's Ravensthorpe mine following a two-year redevelopment programme. [ID:nL3E7L50KN]
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters. [RCH/CA]
* Connacher Oil And Gas CLL.TO price target cut to C$1.10 from C$1.30 at CIBC
* Cenovus (CVE.TO) price target cut to C$32 from C$38 at Socgen
* Talisman Energy TLM.TO price target cut to $23 from $25 at CIBC
$1= $1.03 Canadian Reporting by Anil Kumar; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson