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Aug 26 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index looked set to open higher on Thursday, helped by a rise in commodity prices and stronger-than-expected U.S. economic data.
* Canadian equity futures <0#SXF:> pointed to a higher open.
* U.S. stock index futures extended gains on Thursday after data showed first-time applications for unemployment insurance fell more than expected in the latest week. [.N]
* New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits fell more that expected last week but a measure of underlying labor market trends rose to a nine-month high, government data showed on Thursday. [ID:nN26152418]
* European stocks were up, halting a one-week drop on a batch of strong corporate results.
* Asian stocks rose as investors hunted for bargains among recently beaten-down shares.
* The Canadian dollar recovered from a seven-week low against the U.S. currency on Thursday after an overnight bounce in equity markets and commodity prices. [CAD/]
* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities benchmark, rose 0.74 percent in early trade.
* Oil rose for a second day on Thursday as investors bought back into the market after it hit 11-week lows, but analysts said the fundamental outlook was still bearish with ample stocks to cover any rebound in demand. [O/R]
* Gold rose for a third day on Thursday to its highest since late June, driven by a resurgence in investor concern over the outlook for global growth that has undermined global equities and boosted safe-haven assets. [GOL/]
* Copper rallied on Thursday, helped by a weaker dollar and improved appetite for risk in the broader markets, and as bargain hunters stepped in, deeming a sell off sparked by poor U.S. data as overdone. [MET/L]
* Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) (RY.TO): Canada's largest bank said on Thursday its third-quarter profit fell 18 percent, missing analysts' estimates, as weak trading activity ate into capital markets income. [ID:nN26176305]
* National Bank of Canada (NA.TO): The bank said on Thursday its third-quarter profit fell 10.6 percent, as weak trading activity hurt the bank's financial markets business. [ID:nN26182091]
* Boralex Inc (BLX.TO): The Canadian alternative-power producer on Wednesday added a cash option to its offer for the income trust it manages, but at least one unit holder said the offer was still inadequate. [ID:nSGE67O0L9]
* Petrominerales Ltd PMG.TO: The company, which is looking to take control of Norway's InterOil Exploration & Production ASA (IOX.OL), said it would provide financing to InterOil on terms equal to its existing Citibank facility, if Petrominerales gets a majority stake in InterOil. [ID:nSGE67O0KW]
* Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO): A pipeline of the company that ruptured in Michigan more than a month ago won't resume oil shipments until at least next week, now that a key pressure test on the damaged section has been delayed until Monday. [ID:nN25155223]
* Harry Winston HW.TO: Harry Winston said on Wednesday it had closed a deal to reinstate its 40 percent ownership in the Diavik diamond mine in northern Canada by buying back the interest it sold to Kinross Gold (K.TO) in 2009. [ID:nN25156253]
* Gran Tierra Energy Inc GTE.TO: The company said on Thursday oil bearing zones at its Moqueta-2 well in Colombia are more productive than the first well, but said production from the Putumayo Basin in southern Colombia has been reduced due to a pipeline disruption. [ID:nSGE67P0I3]
* Finavera Renewables Inc FVR.V: Finavera said on Wednesday it is selling a majority stake in a wind-power project it is developing in Ireland. [ID:nN25151455]
* New Island Resources NIS.V: New Island Resources confirmed on Wednesday that it has asked Canadian regulators to determine whether Anaconda Mining's ANX.TO takeover bid for the gold explorer violated securities laws. [ID:nSGE67O0KR]
* Mesa Uranium Corp MSA.V: The explorer of lithium, potash and uranium properties in the United States said it plans to buy the Pine Valley Potash project in Utah for an upfront payment of $25,000. [ID:nSGE67O0L1]
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters. [RCH/CA]
* CIBC (CM.TO) target price raised to C$85 from C$83; rating buy at UBS
* Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) rating started with buy; target price of C$40 at UBS
* Fronteer Gold FRG.TO target price raised to C$8.50 from C$7; rating outperform at RBC
* Meg Energy (MEG.TO) rating started with buy; target price of C$37 at UBS
* Provident Energy Trust PVE_u.TO rating started with outperform; target price of C$8 at Macquarie
* Theratechnologies (TH.TO) target price raised to C$8 from C$6; rating buy at Desjardins
Reporting by Bangalore newsroom, editing by Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay and Jeffrey Hodgson