May 20 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index could open lower on Thursday on concern that austerity policies needed to pull fiscally weak EU countries into line will damp European and world growth.
On the calendar, Canada's index of leading indicators is due, and is expected to show a 0.8 percent rise, compared with a gain of 1 percent the previous month, according to a Reuters poll.
U.S. stock index futures were down, while European stocks fell on persistent concerns that other European countries may follow Germany in curbs on short-selling of some financial instruments.
Asian markets dropped sharply for the second straight day and are heading towards their worst weekly performance since November 2008.
Here is some news that could affect Toronto stock prices:
Oil fell to near $69 a barrel on Thursday after hitting the lowest since September the previous session as concerns about the impact of the European fiscal crisis on fuel demand weighed on sentiment. [O/R]
Copper rose on Thursday in a technical bounce after heavy selling in recent sessions, but the metal remained vulnerable overall due to ongoing worries over Europe's debt crisis and its impact on growth. [MET/L]
Gold steadied in Europe on Thursday after the previous day's 2.5 percent slide, finding support from expectations euro zone debt problems will resurface, and from longer-term concerns over inflation. Palladium prices extended losses on Thursday, falling as much as 10 percent to their lowest since mid-February. [GOL/]
Nexen Inc NXY.TO said on Wednesday it will sell its Western Canadian heavy crude oil properties to privately held Northern Blizzard Resources Inc for C$975 million ($938 million) to concentrate on oil sands, conventional exploration and shale gas. [ID:nN1998058]
Canadian eye-care company QLT Inc QLT.TO QLTI.O said on Thursday that it planned to almost double its share repurchase plan. [ID:nN20117275]
Shareholders in the Norwegian oil firm Statoil (STL.OL) rejected on Wednesday a resolution calling for the company to pull out of a $2 billion Canadian tar sands project at the firm's annual general meeting. [ID:nLDE64I21V]
Generic forms of Pfizer Inc's (PFE.N) blockbuster Lipitor cholesterol fighter began flooding into Canada on Wednesday, in a taste of what is to come for the $12 billion-a-year drug next year in the United States. [ID:nN19241763]
Gold miner Crystallex International Corp KRY.TO said on Wednesday it is actively pursuing a resolution of a permit dispute with the Venezuela government over its principle asset there, and it may file for international arbitration if a settlement is not arrived at. [ID:nSGE64I0PQ]
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters. [RCH/CA]
Note: All values in RESEARCH ROUNDUP in Canadian currency, unless otherwise stated.
* Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines Ltd CLM.TO price target raised to $13.90 from $10.50, rating buy at Desjardins
* Nexen NXY.TO rating raised to outperform at Macquarie
Reporting by Bangalore newsroom, editing by Frank McGurty