Dec 9 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index looked set to open slightly higher on Thursday, helped by firmer commodity prices, positive U.S. data and healthy earnings from some companies.
* Canadian equity futures <0#SXF:> pointed to a higher open.
* U.S. stock index futures added gains on Thursday after the government reported the number of U.S. workers filing for jobless benefits fell more than expected last week. [.N]
* European shares hit a 26-month high on optimism U.S. tax cuts would boost consumption, with technology stocks boosted after ASML (ASML.AS) lifted its booking forecast. [.EU]
* Markets in Asia rose as the consensus between China and North Korea on the Korean peninsula crisis after “candid” talks gave markets some respite from lingering fears of a political upheaval.
* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities benchmark, rose 0.11 percent in early trade.
* Oil prices climbed after two days of declines, up initially in tandem with equities on renewed optimism about global economic growth, but later paring gains as the dollar turned positive. [O/R]
* Gold stabilized, as U.S. Treasury yields fell for the first time in three days, a day after a sharp sell-off that knocked the bullion price from a record high to one-week lows. [GOL/]
* Copper touched a fresh record high, as worries over tight supplies, offset persistent concerns about further monetary tightening efforts in top consumer China. [MET/L]
* Lululemon Athletica Inc. LLL.TO: The retailer on Thursday said its net profit nearly doubled in the third-quarter amid stronger sales of its trendy yoga wear. [ID:nN09219897]
* Kirkland Lake KGI.TO: The gold miner reported on Thursday second-quarter profit as it sold more ounces of the precious metal and said it remained on track to meet its full-year production outlook. [ID:nSGE6B808H]
* Cenovus Energy Inc. (CVE.TO): The company said it expects total average oil production in 2011 to rise about 2 percent and will spend about C$2 billion on its oil assets and refinery operations. [ID:nSGE6B808N]
* Ivanhoe Mines (IVN.TO): The minerals exploration and development company is likely to put itself on the block in a two-step process, which will first see it sell or spin off all its assets except its stake in the huge Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine in Mongolia, according to a source familiar with the matter. [ID:nN08186924]
* Algonquin Power and Utilities Corp. (AQN.TO): The company unit agreed to buy two electric utility companies for a total consideration of $285 million to strength its utilities business in New Hampshire. [ID:nSGE6B808I]
* Breakwater Resources Ltd. BWR.TO: The copper and zinc producer said it will raise C$30 million in a bought deal, partly to help restart operations at the Quebec-based Langlois mine in east-central Canada. [ID:nSGE6B70ER]
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters. [RCH/CA]
* Ivanhoe Mines (IVN.TO) price target raised to C$11 from C$8.50; keeps underperform rating at Raymond James
* NuLoch Resources NLR.V price target raised to C$2.25 from C$2; keeps outperform rating at Raymond James
* Orleans Energy OEX.TO price target raised to C$3 from C$2.50; keeps market perform at Raymond James
* Pure Energy Services Ltd PSV.TO price target raised to C$7.75 from C$6.50; keeps strong buy rating at Raymond James
* Thomson Reuters (TRI.TO) coverage started with sell rating at Berenberg
$1= $1.01 Canadian Reporting by Kishan Nair and Bangalore Newsroom; editing by Jeffrey Hodgson