Record oil seen boosting Toronto stocks

Mon Apr 21, 2008 9:07am EDT
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TORONTO, April 21 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock market index was set for a strong open on Monday as record oil prices are seen boosting the resource-laden market and investors gear up for the corporate results rush later in the week.

Investors are also expected to shrug off an impending interest rate cut due out on Tuesday as most expect the Bank of Canada to slash interest rates by 50 basis points to 3.00 percent.

The main push for the day will come from the influential energy group, which accounts for about 30 percent of the overall market, as U.S. crude oil prices strike new highs.

U.S. crude oil topped $117 a barrel on worries of supply disruptions from major producers and comments from OPEC that there is no need to raise output.

"We're still going to focus on commodities prices and earnings releases," said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall and MacTier.

"Those are the two drivers not only today but for the balance of this week because there is a whole schedule for companies that are due to report. We'll see how the Canadian companies are faring."

Nakamoto expects the oil producers to unveil stellar results for the period as they continue to benefit from record prices.

Among the companies due to report this week are EnCana Corp (ECA.TO: Quote), Nova Chemicals NCX.TO, Potash Corp (POT.TO: Quote) and Suncor (SU.TO: Quote).

Financial issues could also be in the spotlight on Monday after Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO: Quote) repeated on Monday it expects cost synergies from its acquisition of Commerce Bancorp of $310 million before tax, to be realized by the end of fiscal 2009.   Continued...