Nov 18 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index looked set to open higher on Friday, with support likely to come from higher oil, gold and commodity prices, which gained on hopes policymakers will act to contain Europe’s debt crisis.
FACTORS TO WATCH
* Canadian equity futures <0#SXF:> pointed to a higher open.
* U.S. stock index futures rose after Europe’s debt crisis drove heavy market losses this week, with the S&P 500 falling through important technical levels and possibly facing another key test of the strength. [.N]
* European shares reversed losses and traded higher, with traders citing speculation that the European Central Bank may lend money to the IMF to provide the fund with the resources to bail out bigger euro zone sovereigns.[.EU]
* The Canadian dollar firmed to a session high against the U.S. currency after data showed inflation dipped but came in higher than forecast. [CAD/]
Canadian inflation rose 2.9 percent in October from a year earlier, easing from 3.2 percent in September, as gasoline prices rose at a slower year-on-year pace. [ID:nN1E7AH067] ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ 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] ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
COMMODITY PRICE MOVES
* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities benchmark, rose 0.51 percent in early trade.
* Brent crude oil rose a dollar to over $109 a barrel, helped by a weaker dollar, after posting steep losses in the previous session, but analysts and traders said the risk remained to the downside given the economic weakness in Europe. [O/R]
* Gold inched up helped by a weaker dollar and some bargain-hunting but was still on track for its largest weekly loss since September as euro zone debt contagion worries spooked investors. [GOL/]
* Copper prices steadied, on course for a third week of falls as fears of contagion in the euro zone debt crisis deepened concerns about the region’s growth, although a weak dollar helped limit further falls. [MET/L]
CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH
* Opti Canada Inc. OPC.V: The oil sands company said it received all regulatory approvals to be acquired by China’s top offshore oil producer CNOOC Ltd. [ID:nL3E7MI0LL]
* Yamana Gold (YRI.TO): The company said it has started production at its Mercedes mine in Mexico and it expects to start commercial production in the second quarter of 2012. [ID:nL3E7MI23G]
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters. [RCH/CA]
* Altus Group Ltd (AIF.TO) rating raised to sector outperformer from sector performer at CIBC
* Canexus Income Fund CUS.TO price target raised to C$8 from C$7.50 at CIBC
* Extendicare REIT EXE_u.TO price target cut to C$7.75 from C$9 at CIBC
* Novagold Resources Inc (NG.TO) price target cut to C$10 from C$10.50 at National Bank Financial
* TD Bank (TD.TO) removed from action list on macro uncertainty at National Bank Financial
* 5N Plus Inc VNP.TO price target cut to C$10 from C$11 at National Bank Financial
($1= $1.02 Canadian) (Reporting by Anil Kumar; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)