July 29, 2008 / 1:07 PM / in 9 years

Toronto stock index set for weaker opening

*TSX could open weaker on U.S. financial news

*Softer prices of oil and gold may weigh

*Rogers quarterly results may be in focus

TORONTO, July 29 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index looked poised for a weaker open on Monday amid concern about the health of the U.S. financial system, though a profit report from heavyweight Rogers Communications (RCIb.TO) may provide a lift.

With the prices of oil and gold weaker, investors may look to U.S. consumer confidence data for July due out later on Tuesday morning for direction, said Steve Ibel, institutional equities trader at Beacon Securities, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

"What you're going to see is people waiting to see the big number come out," said Ibel. "That could really dictate how the market trades throughout the remainder of the day."

Meanwhile, a ream of quarterly earnings reports could give the market some trading incentives, he said.

In the oil sector, Talisman Energy TLM.TO could be in focus after it reported a drop in second-quarter profit, while Canadian Oil Sands Trust COS_u.TO was expected to release results later in the day.

Rogers could cheer investors after it reported a quarterly profit, following a loss a year earlier, amid growth in subscribers and revenue.

The heavily-weighted financials subsector may come under pressure on Tuesday, as investor digested news late on Monday that Merrill Lynch & Co Inc MER.N had a $5.7 billion third-quarter writedown and would issue new stock.

This follows recent fears about credit losses as federal regulators last week took over two small U.S. banks, which sent financials down.

Industrial Alliance (IAG.TO) was expected to report results at the market's open, and could draw attention.

"Any financials you get reporting is going to be of interest in Canada to see how the health of the Canadian financial market is standing up compared to its U.S. counterparts regardless to whether they have large mortgage exposure or not," said Ibel.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE begins the day at 13,303.96, down 74.85 points or 0.56 percent.

In New York, futures were up on a fall in oil, and financial stocks are likely to be in focus. ($1=$1.02 Canadian) (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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