April 29 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index could open higher on Thursday as oil prices reverse early losses on encouraging signs of buoyant U.S. fuel demand, shrugging off credit rating downgrades for southern European countries.
European stocks rose, however investor were cautious after S&P on Wednesday downgraded fourth-largest euro zone economy Spain by one-notch to AA.
Wall Street is also poised for a higher open, looking to add to previous session’s gains after the Federal Reserve pledged to keep rates low for an extended period. [.N]
Investors will be closely watching U.S. weekly jobless claims as well as bellwether Exxon Mobil (XOM.N), whose profit rose 38 percent. Technology stocks will be in focus after Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N) said it will buy Palm Inc PALM.O.
Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney is expected to testify to the Senate Standing Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce.
Most Asian markets were down, while Japanese markets were closed for the start of the country’s long Golden Week holiday.
Here is some news that could affect stock prices:
Oil rose above $84 on Thursday on encouraging signs of buoyant U.S. fuel demand, shrugging off credit rating downgrades of Greece, Spain and Portugal. [O/R]
Copper was steady on Thursday as fears over sovereign debt in the Eurozone ebbed slightly and investors eyed bright demand prospects for the metal but risk sentiment remained fragile, traders said. [MET/L]
Gold edged up following a surge in the previous session to its highest this year as a knee-jerk reaction to rising concerns about European sovereign debt gave way to hope a resolution may soon be reached. [GOL/]
Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N) announced a $1.2 billion deal to buy Palm Inc PALM.O, betting it can resuscitate the struggling smartphone maker to compete with the likes of Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Research in Motion RIM.TO. [ID:nN28209016]
Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (POT.TO) said its first-quarter earnings rose, driven primarily by a sharp rebound in potash demand, but the company’s outlook fell far short of expectations. [ID:nN29200817]
LABOPHARM‘S U.S. JV
Labopharm Inc DDS.TO said that it was forming a joint venture with Italy’s Grupo Angelini to sell the Canadian drugmaker’s antidepressant in the United States. [ID:nN29216999]
Big-screen movie company Imax Corp IMX.TO IMAX.O reported a first-quarter profit on a growing appetite for such 3D blockbusters as “Avatar” and “Alice in Wonderland.” [ID:nN29158776]
Telecoms software firm Bridgewater Systems Corp BWC.TO reported a 59 percent rise in quarterly profit, driven by new customer wins, and raised its full-year revenue outlook. [ID:nSGE63Q0K0]
Goldcorp (G.TO) said on Wednesday its adjusted profit slipped by 3.9 percent, missing analysts’ estimates, as the timing of sales and the stronger Canadian dollar raised costs and offset the impact of higher gold prices. [ID:nN28199774]
Centerra Gold (CG.TO) reported a quarterly profit on Wednesday versus a year-earlier loss, helped by higher production and gold prices, and affirmed its production outlook for the year. [ID:nN28218453]
Imperial Oil Ltd’s (IMO.TO) quarterly profit rose 65 percent, short of analysts’ estimates, as oil prices surged but refining weighed it down, Canada’s No. 2 oil exploration and refining company said on Wednesday. [ID:nN28128081]
Ballard Power Systems’s BLD.TO (BLDP.TO) quarterly loss came in wider than expected due to lower sales at its automotive products segment, but the Canadian hydrogen fuel-cell maker said it was well-positioned to meet its full-year revenue view. [ID:nSGE63S0GI]
Opti Canada Inc OPC.TO, which holds a 35 percent stake in Nexen Inc’s NXY.TO Long Lake oil sands project, posted a narrower quarterly loss, and said it continued to explore strategic alternatives including a sale. [ID:nSGE63S0G0]
The world’s largest producer of methanol, Methanex Corp (MX.TO), reported higher quarterly profit on Wednesday, driven by increased demand for methanol. [ID:nN28222121]
Husky Energy Inc HSE.TO, Canada’s No. 3 oil producer and refiner, expects to announce a new chief executive by around mid-year, outgoing CEO John Lau said on Wednesday. [ID:nN28209184]
Industrial services provider Marsulex Inc MLX.TO on Wednesday said it first-quarter earnings more than doubled, partly helped by lower expenses. [ID:nSGE63R0L2]
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters on Friday. [RCH/CA]
Note: All values in Canadian currency, unless otherwise stated.
* Canadian Pacific Railway (CP.TO) price target raised to $63 from $58; rating hold at Salman Partners
* Canwel Building Materials Group CWX.TO coverage resumed with buy rating; price target of $6 at Genuity
* CGI Group (GIBa.TO) price target raised to $16.50 from $16; rating market perform at Raymond James
* Cirrus Energy CYR.V rating cut to outperform from strong buy at Raymond James
* Crew Energy (CR.TO) price target raised to $17.50 from $13; rating market perform at Raymond James
* Dalsa Corp DSA.TO rating raised to buy from hold; price target to $13 from $9 at Genuity
* Progress Energy Resources (PRQ.TO) price target raised to $13.25 from $12.75; rating hold at Genuity
* Rogers Communications (RCIb.TO) price target raised to $36 from $34; rating hold at Genuity
* Shoppers Drug Mart SC.TO price target cut to $42 from $45; rating market perform at Raymond James (Reporting by Bangalore newsroom, editing by Savio D‘Souza and Jeffrey Hodgson)