December 29, 2010 / 1:45 PM / in 7 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX may rise at open with oil near two-year high

Dec 29 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index looked set to open higher on Wednesday, buoyed by firm oil, gold and copper prices and Nunavut Iron Ore’s increased bid for Baffinland Iron Mines BIM.TO.

FACTORS TO WATCH

* Canadian equity futures <0#SXF:> pointed to a higher open.

* U.S. stock index futures rose, indicating stocks were poised to extend a December rally as investors remained optimistic the global economic rebound will continue in 2011. [.N]

* European equities nudged higher in holiday-thinned trade, with heavyweight Skanska pushing construction shares to the top of the gainers’ list after saying it was selling its stake in a Chilean highway concession. [.EU]

* Asian shares rose, with Japan’s Nikkei maintaining a fourth quarter rally as investors hunted bargains in one of the developed world’s cheapest markets.

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* Oil steadied near a two-year high above $91 a barrel ahead of U.S. inventory data expected to show a drawdown in crude and distillate stocks due to severe weather in the world’s largest oil user. [O/R]

* Gold steadied around two-week highs above $1,400 an ounce, closing in on a tenth consecutive yearly gain after another batch of U.S. data cast doubt on the economic outlook and weakened the dollar. [GOL/]

* Copper rose to just under record highs in Europe, catching up with U.S. prices following the Christmas break, while a rate rise in top consumer China failed to quell the metal’s record run. [MET/L]

* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities benchmark, fell 0.26 percent in early trade.

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Nunavut Iron Ore said on Wednesday it was raising its bid for Baffinland Iron Mines BIM.TO to C$1.40 a share for 60 percent of the company’s shares, challenging ArcelorMittal’s ISPA.AS friendly bid of C$1.25 a share for all of the shares. [ID:nN29274403]

* Transition Therapeutics Inc. TTH.TO: The biopharmaceutical company on Monday said it will relinquish its 30 percent ownership of its experimental Alzheimer drug ELND005 to Irish drugmaker Elan Corp. [ID:nSGE6BQ02X]

$1= $1 Canadian Reporting by Kishan Nair and Bangalore Newsroom; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson

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