Feb 16 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index looked set to open lower on Thursday, tracking global markets as another delay in cementing a crucial bailout for Greece underscored how far Europe is from resolving the debt crisis.
Separately, Moody’s warned that it may cut the credit ratings of a group of top financial institutions, compounding worries for the market.
* Canadian equity futures pointed to a lower open.
* U.S. stock index futures pared losses on Thursday after jobless claims unexpectedly fell last week to a near four-year low, another sign of improvement in the labor market.
* European bourses sold off, with further delays in the bailout deal without which Greece could face a messy default sending risk aversion to one-month highs and hitting bank shares.
* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, a global commodities benchmark, fell 0.44 percent in early trade.
* Brent crude steadied around $119 after hitting multiple-month highs in the previous day as fears of a delay in a second bailout package for Greece weighed down global markets.
* Gold prices fell on as the euro slid to a three-week low versus the dollar, pressured by news that European officials considered delaying a bailout package for Greece which fuelled fears the heavily indebted nation could face a chaotic default.
* Copper slipped to a three-week low and fell below a key support level, as delays to securing a bailout package for highly indebted Greece undermined sentiment and pushed the euro lower against the dollar.
* Barrick Gold : The gold miner said its operating profit rose 15 percent, as a sharp increase in bullion prices and higher copper sales volumes lifted earnings.
* Goldcorp : The gold miner reported a 23 percent increase in its operating profit on Wednesday, topping expectations as sharp gains in the price of bullion drove earnings growth in the quarter.
* Kinross Gold : The gold miner reported an operating profit that fell short of expectations on Wednesday, as weaker than expected sales and higher than expected costs weighed in the quarter and offset gains from a surge in the price of bullion.
* Penn West Petroleum Ltd. : The company reported a wider fourth-quarter loss mainly due to hedging losses.
* Nexen Inc. : The oil and gas explorer’s fourth-quarter profit fell, hurt by lower production.
* Russel Metals : The steel products maker reported an 87 percent rise in fourth-quarter profit, helped by strong performance across all its segments.
* Sun Life Financial : The life insurer said on Wednesday it fell to a steep loss in the fourth quarter due to a C$635 million accounting charge. It lost C$525 million, or 90 Canadian cents a share.
* Agnico-Eagle : The gold miner reported a quarterly loss as a partial writedown of the value of its Meadowbank mine in the Canadian Arctic offset gains from a surge in the price of gold.
* Mercer International Inc : The company posted quarterly loss hurt mainly by weak pulp markets and one-off charges.
* Lake Shore Gold : The gold miner on Wednesday released a new resource estimate for its Timmins West project in Canada, a key step in building a more reliable mine plan to support a capacity increase at its nearby mill.
* Aastra Technologies Ltd. : The business communications company’s quarterly profit rose 13 percent on lower costs.
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters.
* Aastra : NBF raises price target to C$23 from C$18, rating outperform
* Canadian REIT : CIBC ups price target to C$40 from C$39.50, rating sector performer
* Cenovus Energy : CIBC raises price target to C$45 from C$43, rating sector performer
* Contrans : NBF raises price target to C$9.50 from C$8.50, rating sector perform
* Firstservice : CIBC raises price target to C$40 from C$38
* Home Capital : NBF raises price target to C$66 from C$65, rating outperform
* Labrador Iron Mines : Canaccord Genuity cuts target to C$11.50 from C$13, rating buy