TORONTO, April 20 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index could open lower on Monday as a drop in oil prices may rattle the influential energy sector, while earnings news out of the United States could also ruffle sentiment.
Investors were cautious ahead of a raft of major U.S. blue chip earnings reports this week, which will follow earnings from JP Morgan (JPM.N) and Citigroup (C.N) last week that were both better than expected.
The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE rose 2.7 percent last week and has recorded six straight weeks of gains since falling to a five-year low in early March.
Here is some of the news that may affect the index:
Oil fell more than 5 percent below $48 a barrel on Monday, weighed down by a rising U.S. dollar and growing caution about the pace of any economic recovery and its impact on oil demand. [ID:nSYD428032]
Gold edged higher in Europe on Monday, with physical buyers such as jewelers hunting bargains after last week's price decline. A firmer dollar kept a lid on gains, however. [ID:nLK615044]
The Canadian government wants Brazilian mining giant Vale (VALE5.SA)(RIO.N) to explain its plans for an eight-week shutdown of its Ontario mining operations and will examine "all available options" to be sure that the company meets its obligations. [ID:nN19339040]
Fertilizer maker Agrium Inc's (AGU.TO) beaten-down shares should climb as the global economy and corn prices bounce back, Barron's reported on Sunday. [ID:nN19342149]
BAY STREET: UGLY NUMBERS EXPECTED FROM CANADA'S OIL PATCH
It won't be pretty when Canada's biggest energy companies unveil what are bound to be their weakest quarterly results in years. Low prices are almost certain to have slashed profits for oil and gas producers, who begin their first-quarter earning season in earnest this week. [ID:nN17255451]
Following is a list of research on Canadian-listed companies. For more, please see [RCH/CA].
* Raymond James raises Nexen Inc NXY.TO target price 7 percent to C$22.50 with "market perform" rating.
* Raymond James raises EnCana Corp (ECA.TO) target price 10 percent to C$55 with "market perform" rating.
* Raymond James cuts Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) to "market perform" rating from "outperform" and raises target price 8.8 percent to C$62.
$1=$1.23 Canadian Reporting by Frank Pingue; Editing by Theodore d'Afflisio