March 16 (Reuters) - Stock futures pointed to a higher opening for Canada's main stock index on Thursday as commodities gained on the dollar's drop in the wake of the U.S. Federal Reserve's dovish tone for rate hikes this year. The Fed on Wednesday raised interest rates, as expected, but signaled only a gradual rate tightening. That sent the dollar to a one-month low, and gold and copper to one-week highs. Oil prices also rose for a second day, as the dollar weakened and as U.S. data showing crude inventories had dipped after rising for nine weeks. A rally in commodities on Wednesday following the Fed's statement, boosted shares of natural resource companies, helping Canada's main stock index rebound from a 2017 low hit in the previous session. March futures on the S&P TSX index were up 0.26 percent at 7:15 a.m. ET. Dow Jones Industrial Average e-mini futures were up 0.33 percent at 7:15 a.m. ET, while S&P 500 e-mini futures were up 0.26 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures were up 0.31 percent. Data on foreign investment in Canadian securities is due at 8:30 a.m. ET . (Morning News Call newsletter here ; The Day Ahead newsletter here) TOP STORIES Indian Oil Corp became India's first refiner to buy light sweet Hibernia crude from Canada's largest oil company Suncor Energy , doing the deal after the opening of the arbitrage for Canadian oil to flow to Asia. Retailer Canada Goose Holdings Inc said on Wednesday it has priced its initial public offering at C$17 per share, above its target range. ANALYST RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS Automotive Properties : CIBC starts coverage with "outperformer" rating; C$11.25 target price Bombardier : Desjardins raises rating to "buy" from "hold" COMMODITIES AT 7:15 a.m. ET Gold futures : $1222.9; +1.9 percent US crude : $49.24; +0.78 percent Brent crude : $52.26; +0.87 percent LME 3-month copper : $5937; +1.24 percent U.S. ECONOMIC DATA DUE ON THURSDAY 08:30 Building permits number for Feb: Expected 1.260 mln; Prior 1.293 mln 08:30 Build permits change mm for Feb: Prior 5.3 pct 08:30 Housing starts number mm for Feb: Expected 1.260 mln; Prior 1.246 mln 08:30 House starts change mm for Feb: Prior -2.6 pct 08:30 Initial jobless claims: Expected 240,000; Prior 243,000 08:30 Jobless claims 4-week average: Prior 236,500 08:30 Continued jobless claims: Expected 2.050 mln; Prior 2.058 mln 08:30 Philly Fed Business Index for Mar: Expected 30.0; Prior 43.3 08:30 Philly Fed 6M Index for Mar: Prior 53.50 08:30 Philly Fed Capex Index for Mar: Prior 22.10 08:30 Philly Fed Employment for Mar: Prior 11.10 08:30 Philly Fed Prices Paid for Mar: Prior 29.90 08:30 Philly Fed New Orders for Mar: Prior 38.00 10:00 JOLTS job openings for Jan: Prior 5.501 mln FOR CANADIAN MARKETS NEWS, CLICK ON CODES: TSX market report Canadian dollar and bonds report Reuters global stocks poll for Canada Canadian markets directory ($1 = C$1.33) (Reporting by Nayyar Rasheed in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)
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