March 30 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index looked set to open higher on Friday, buoyed by rising commodity prices and reassuring measures to prevent the euro zone’s sovereign debt crisis from flaring.
On the economic calendar, Canada will releases data on economic growth by industry, and a small increase is expected. Research in Motion will likely take center stage after the BlackBerry maker posted its first loss in seven years and launched a strategic review.
* Canadian equity futures pointed to a higher open.
* U.S. stock index futures were higher as bargain hunters entered the market after a string of declines, putting equities on track to record their strongest quarter in more than two years.
* European share prices rose following a three-day drop, as bargain hunters scooped up cyclical mining and auto shares after a deal by euro zone finance ministers to boost the currency bloc’s firewall reassured investors.
* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, a global commodities benchmark, rose 0.39 percent in early trade.
* Oil rose above $123 a barrel after three losing sessions with support from a weaker dollar and expectations of tight gasoline supplies in the United States, the world’s largest oil consumer.
* Gold prices rose as the dollar fell to a one-month low against a basket of currencies, with the euro firming versus the U.S. unit after finance ministers agreed to boost the euro zone’s debt crisis firewall to roughly 800 billion euros.
* Copper firmed slightly and was on track for an 11 percent gain in the first quarter of the year, supported by a weaker dollar and falling metal inventories in Asia, although fears persisted of weak demand in top consumer China.
* Research In Motion : The company posted a net loss and its first slump in BlackBerry shipments for its holiday quarter since 2006, as its new CEO announced the initial steps in a strategic overhaul and would not rule out an eventual sale of the company.
* Maple Leaf Foods Inc. : The meat packer and baker said it will open a facility in Puslinch, Ontario that will operate as the company’s prepared meats distribution hub for central and eastern Canada.
* Royal Bank of Canada : The wealth manager is hiring aggressively it seeks to expand its business in Asia and Latin America as well as more established markets such as the United States and Britain, executives said on Thursday.
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters.
* Alterra Power Corp. : National Bank Financial raises target to C$0.70 from C$0.65
* Artis REIT : Canaccord Genuity raises target to C$17 from C$15.75, rating buy
* Aura Minerals : National Bank Financial cuts target to C$2 from C$2.30, outperform
* Dundee REIT : CIBC raises price target to C$39 from C$37.50
* Research In Motion : Barclays cuts target to $10 from $12, rating equalweight; Credit Suisse cuts target to $14.50 from $18, rating neutral
* Richelieu Hardware : NBF raises to outperform from sector perform; NBF ups price target to C$35 from C$33