Oct 7 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index looked set to open higher on Thursday, helped by stronger-than-expected U.S. data and further gains in commodity prices.
FACTORS TO WATCH
* Canadian equity futures <0#SXF:> pointed to a higher open.
* U.S. stock index futures rose after data showed new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week. [.N] [ID:nN06278713]
* European shares rose, with investors awaiting an interest rate decision and policy indications from the European Central Bank after the Bank of England kept interest rates on hold as expected. [.EU]
* Asian stocks steadied after hitting a two-year high, capped by weakness in the technology sector.
COMMODITY PRICE MOVES
* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities benchmark, 0.87 percent in early trade.
* Oil rose towards $84 a barrel, within sight of a five-month high, supported by expectations central banks will ease monetary policy to shore up sluggish economies and as a French oil port strike widened. [O/R]
* Gold rose to a third successive record high, putting it on track for its strongest weekly performance in six months, as expectations for the Federal Reserve to prop up the economy undermined the dollar. [GOL/]
* Copper was steady in Europe on Thursday, hovering under two-year highs as the dollar languished on expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will move back towards monetary easing. [MET/L]
CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH
* Teck Resources Ltd. TCKb.TO: The company and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd CP.TO unveiled a new 10-year agreement on Wednesday for moving coal from five Teck mines to the Pacific Coast for export. [ID:nN06290492]
* Rogers Communications Inc RCIb.TO: The owner of Canada's biggest wireless company said it launched a comprehensive technical trial of Long Term Evolution wireless network technology with Ericsson Canada in the Ottawa area on Wednesday.[ID:nSGE6950MG]
* Alamos Gold Inc AGI.TO: The miner's third-quarter production fell 29 percent year-over-year, hurt by a long rainy season and processing related issues at its flagship mine in Mexico. [ID:nSGE6960FS]
* Homburg Canada Real Estate Investment Trust HCR_u.TO: The company said on Wednesday it will raise about C$75 million through a bought deal to fund future acquisitions. [ID:nSGE6950M8]
* Sandvine Corp SVC.TO: The network equipment maker on Thursday posted a third-quarter profit, helped by growth at its digital subscriber line and mobile access markets. [ID:nSGE6950LA]
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters. [RCH/CA]
* Air Canada ACb.TO rating cut to outperform from strong buy at Raymond James
* Artek Exploration RTK.TO rating raised to sector perform from underperform at National Bank
* Canyon Services Group FRC.TO rating cut to outperform from strong buy at Raymond James
* Fairborne Energy FEL.TO rating raised to outperform from sector perform at National Bank
* Husky Energy HSE.TO rating cut to underperform from sector perform at National Bank
* Talisman Energy TLM.TO rating cut to sector perform from outperform at National Bank
* Vero Energy VRO.TO rating cut to sector perform from outperform at National Bank
($1=$1.01 Canadian) (Reporting by Bangalore newsroom; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)