Sept 2 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index could open higher on Thursday, a day after the index notched its highest close in more than 15 weeks, helped by a U.S. report that new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week,
* Canadian equity futures <0#SXF:> pointed to a higher open.
* New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits fell last week, government data showed on Thursday, but were still too high to signal a change in fortunes for the troubled labor market. [ID:nN02194957]
* U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Thursday after Wall Street’s best day in eight weeks. [.N]
* European equities edged lower after the previous session’s jump, though auto shares were buoyed by sales data. [.EU]
* Asian stocks hit a two-week high, with Japan’s Nikkei briefly rising more than 2 percent, with tech shares among the gainers.
* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities benchmark, fell 0.04 percent in early trade.
* Oil fell further below $74 a barrel on Thursday, weighed by record high inventories in top consumer the United States and investor caution ahead of U.S. employment reports. [O/R]
* Gold rose in Europe on Thursday as investors remained cautious about riskier assets ahead of key U.S. data, while a rise in holdings of the main gold exchange-traded fund demonstrated an appetite for bullion. [GOL/]
* Copper rose to its highest in more than four months as recent macroeconomic data from the world’s two largest economies, the United States and China, brightened the outlook for metals demand. [MET/L]
* Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO): Canada’s No. 2 bank said on Thursday its third-quarter profit rose 29 percent, as better credit quality and a strong retail bank performance overshadowed lower wholesale banking income. [ID:nN01158442]
* Husky Energy Inc (HSE.TO): The company, which is controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, is buying Alberta natural gas properties from Talisman Energy Inc TLM.TO for an undisclosed sum as a way to get better use out of one its gas plants, it said on Wednesday. [ID:nN01113781]
* Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO): The restart of the Enbridge Inc oil pipeline that ruptured in July, wreaking havoc on both the environment and energy markets, is in the hands of U.S. regulators now that the company has completed all required testing, executives said on Wednesday. [ID:nN01156182]
* Canadian Western Bank (CWB.TO): The bank said on Wednesday its third-quarter profit surged 47 percent, as interest margins were helped by the February acquisition of equipment lender National Leasing. [ID:nN01159401]
* Merck & Co (MRK.N) and Canada’s Cardiome Pharma Corp COM.TO said they have been granted marketing approval for the intravenous formulation of their heart drug Brinavess in the European Union, Iceland and Norway. [ID:nSGE6800LJ]
* Harry Winston Diamond Corp HW.TO: The Canadian diamond miner and retailer posted a stronger than expected profit on Wednesday, as robust diamond sales in both its mining and retail segments boosted second-quarter results. [ID:nN01149743]
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters. [RCH/CA]
* Harry Winston HW.TO rating raised to buy from neutral at UBS
$1=$1.05 Canadian Reporting by Bangalore newsroom, editing by Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay and Jeffrey Hodgson