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TORONTO, April 23 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index could open higher on Thursday given the combination of a rise in oil prices, a higher-than-expected profit from a key energy player and a jump in equities overnight.
A rise in stocks globally overnight could help set the tone for a higher start in Toronto as overseas investors put aside recent worries about the world economy and banking woes and opted to send stocks higher. For more see [ID:nLN950313].
But investors may hold off on making big commitments until they have details of the Bank of Canada's Monetary Policy Report due out at 10:30 a.m. (1430 GMT), which will be followed by a press conference with Governor Mark Carney at 11:15 a.m.
A slew of quarterly earnings from a number of key companies could also pull the index in different directions as investors read over the details of the reports.
The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished modestly higher on Wednesday's as stable commodity prices helped the resource-heavy index rise 31.98 points to 9,279.15.
Here is some of the news that may affect the index:
Canadian oil company Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO) posted a first-quarter loss of C$189 million ($153 million) on Thursday, with foreign exchange losses and lower prices partly offset by higher downstream margins. [ID:nLN617354]
Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (POT.TO) posted a 46 percent fall in first-quarter profit as sales volumes declined for all three nutrients and prices for nitrogen products and solid phosphate fertilizer weakened substantially. [ID:nBNG54646]
Canadian Pacific Railway (CP.TO) posted a 31-percent decline in first-quarter profit on Thursday, citing declining freight traffic volume resulting from the global economic downturn. [ID:nN23306426]
Metro Inc MRUa.TO reported a higher quarterly profit and boosted its dividend 10 percent as Canada's third-largest grocer shrugged off the effects of the economic downturn. [ID:nN23302918]
Oil rose towards $50 a barrel on Thursday as a rally in European equities markets encouraged investors to focus on the prospects for a rebound in oil demand once the global recession begins to ease. [ID:nSP468383]
Executives at Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO) will assume the top roles in the company after it wraps up its planned C$18.4 billion ($15 billion) takeover of Petro-Canada PCA.TO in the country's biggest energy deal, the firms said on Wednesday. [ID:nN22259432]
Gold edged up on Thursday, extending gains from the day before as concern about the global economy enhanced bullion's appeal as a hedge against market uncertainty, and physical buying in India also provided support. [ID:nLN83239]
Canada's Hemisphere GPS Inc HEM.TO, a maker of global positioning systems, posted a 72 percent drop in first-quarter profit as the ongoing economic slowdown hurt demand for its GPS products. [ID:nBNG496770]
Following is a list of research on Canadian-listed companies. For more, please see [RCH/CA].
* Raymond James raises EnCana Corp (ECA.TO) price target 4.5 percent to C$57.50 with "market perform" rating.
* Raymond James raises Precision Drilling Trust PD_u.TO price target to C$9 with "outperform" rating.
* Raymond James cuts Inmet Mining IMN.TO to "outperform" rating from a "strong buy" and raises target price 11 percent to C$50.
* Raymond James raises Ivanhoe Mines (IVN.TO) target price 12.5 percent to C$4.50, maintains "underperform" rating. ($1=$1.24 Canadian) (Reporting by Frank Pingue; Editing by James Dalgleish)