August 27, 2008 / 1:20 PM / 9 years ago

Toronto stocks to open mixed, CIBC results eyed

*Firm oil, gold may help resource stocks

*Maple Leaf Foods remains in spotlight

TORONTO, Aug 27 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index was set for a mixed open on Wednesday, buoyed by strength in commodity-related stocks, but quarterly results from Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) could temper gains.

CIBC, Canada’s fifth-biggest lender, reported a 91 percent drop in third-quarter profit, mainly due to losses in structured investments related to the U.S. residential mortgage market.

However, strength in the price of oil and gold may support the benchmark index, said John Ing, president of Maison Placements Canada.

“The resources will offset, in part, weakness in the financials,” said Ing.

On Tuesday Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO), Canada’s fourth largest bank, and Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) reported quarterly results that lagged already lowered expectations, sending the financial services sector down 1.1 percent and setting the tone for the week.

Banks in Canada have been tangled in the downward momentum in the U.S. financial sector, further impacted on Tuesday after a report showed that the number of troubled U.S. banks is rising.

Choppy activity is expected to continue this week as the market awaits results from the remainder of Canada’s big banks.

“The banks will remain under pressure,” said Ing. “It’s not a one-quarter problem.”

Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO), both with hefty U.S. operations, and National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) are expected to deliver results on Thursday.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE begins the day at 13,299.07, up 10.11 points, as energy shares rose on the back of higher oil and offset a weak banking sector.

The heavyweight energy and materials sectors could see gains again, as oil rose for a third day, supported by the chance that Tropical Storm Gustav could become the first major storm since 2005 to threaten oil and gas installations in the Gulf of Mexico.

Materials may also rise along with gold, up on a weakening U.S. dollar, and some base metals.

The renewed interest comes after a much-needed pullback, said Ing.

Maple Leaf Foods (MFI.TO) remains in the spotlight as more products were pulled from store shelves amid a deadly food poisoning outbreak linked to listeriosis outbreak that has been associated with 15 deaths. Investors continued to bail out of Maple Leaf, sending its shares down another 9 percent on Tuesday.

In New York, futures pointed higher after stronger-than-expected July data on durable goods orders could ease some worries about a weakening U.S. economy. ($1=$1.05 Canadian) (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; Editing by Scott Anderson)

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