March 5, 2008 / 2:13 PM / 11 years ago

Toronto stocks set to gain on resources, banks

TORONTO, March 5 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index looked set to open higher on Wednesday, taking its cue from buoyant European markets and strengthening commodity prices.

The heavily weighted financial sector could also see a recovery after falling in the previous session.

Talk of a possible rescue plan for U.S. bond insurer Ambac Financial Group ABK.N helped the Toronto benchmark trim losses on Tuesday, even while Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) and Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) declined after reporting disappointing quarterly earnings.

“We’ll have a stronger opening on Toronto today (with) the resources up and probably the financials will recover a bit, especially Bank of Nova Scotia and BMO,” said Steve Ibel, institutional equities trader at Beacon Securities, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Oil prices were firm after OPEC decided to leave its output unchanged. The heavyweight energy sector often takes its cue from the direction of the underlying commodity.

As well, gold prices gained while investors continued to eye the psychologically important $1,000 an ounce mark.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE starts the day at 13,476.81 after falling 0.5 percent on Tuesday.

Toymaker Mega Brands Inc MB.TO could see interest after it said it was mulling the sale of its stationery and activities business.

Elsewhere, AEterna Zentaris Inc AEZ.TO could see action after the biopharmaceuticals company reported a fourth-quarter loss, hurt in part by higher research and development expenses.

South of the border, U.S. futures rose, boosted by optimism in the financial sector, but gains could be limited by data which showed private-sector employment declined unexpectedly in February.

($1=$0.99 Canadian)

Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Scott Anderson

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