March 1 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index looked set to open higher on Thursday buoyed by rising commodity prices and upbeat economic data.
* Canadian equity futures pointed to a higher open.
* U.S. stock index futures edged higher after Wall Street finished February with healthy gains as investors looked ahead to economic data that could reinforce recent signs of improved growth.
* European stocks were higher, led by bank shares benefiting from the European Central Bank’s latest liquidity boost while a dip in Spanish borrowing costs at an auction fuelled hopes the worst of the euro zone crisis is over.
* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, a global commodities benchmark, fell 0.03 percent in early trade.
* Oil rose above $123 a barrel as better-than-expected economic data from China and the United States bolstered the demand outlook and concern persisted about supply disruption from Iran.
* Gold rebounded as physical bullion investors were tempted back to the market by the previous session’s 5 percent price plunge, its biggest one-day drop since before the collapse of Lehman Brothers in October 2008.
* Copper rose clawing back some of the previous day’s losses, as investors crept back into the market, heartened by data hinting that top industrial metals consumer China’s economy will avoid a sharp slowdown after a period of strong growth.
* Royal Bank of Canada’ : The bank’s quarterly earnings fell 6 percent as a drop in capital markets profit overshadowed strong retail lending, but the company also announced a surprise dividend increase.
* Toronto-Dominion Bank : The bank’s quarterly profit fell 5.1 percent, hurt by weaker capital markets-related income and a litigation reserve, but the bank raised its quarterly dividend
* Bombardier Inc. : The commercial plane maker reported a lower quarterly profit as it delivered less number of commercial and business aircraft partly due to a curtailed reporting period.[ID: nL4E8E13VB]
* Research in Motion Ltd : The blackberry maker is likely to preannounce poor February quarter results and forecast a “very weak” May quarter on lower sales of its phones, according to Jefferies & Co analysts.
* Constellation Software : The company posted a 72 percent rise in quarterly profit, helped by acquisitions and higher sales at both its private and public sector businesses.
* Ithaca Energy Inc : The oil and gas explorer said it had received unsolicited takeover offers from a number of parties.
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters.
* International Forest : CIBC starts with sector outperformer, price target C$6.50
* PHX Energy Services : CIBC raises price target to C$12.50 from C$12
* Torstar Corp. : NBF raises price target to C$11 from C$10.50, sector perform rating; CIBC cuts price target to C$12 from C$14
* TransForce Inc. : CIBC raises price target to C$22 from C$19.50
* TVA Group : CIBC cuts price target to C$12 from C$14