September 12, 2008 / 12:57 PM / 10 years ago

Toronto stocks set to open higher but eyes Lehman

*Oil up on fears Hurricane Ike will damage U.S. refineries

*Gold, base metals track oil’s rise, weaker U.S. dollar

*ATS Automation to sell its precision components group

TORONTO, Sept 12 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index is poised for a higher open on Friday, as oil and metals firm, but any gains made could be swayed by developments around troubled Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc LEH.N.

The heavily weighted energy sector could get a boost as crude firmed to around $102 a barrel on concerns Hurricane Ike could threaten oil refineries in the United States.

Husky Energy Inc (HSE.TO) could underpin a rise in the sector. It and several other companies won development rights to spend a total of C$186 million in exploration offshore Labrador, the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board said on Thursday.

Materials could get a boost as bullion bounced on a retreat in the U.S. dollar, and most base metals rose. Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Inc POT.TO could see action after it boosted its share-buyback limit to as much as 10 percent.

But any gains made in the resource sphere could be tempered by uncertainty surrounding Lehman Brothers, said Bruce Latimer, trader at Dundee Securities.

“The big story is the Lehman scenario,” he said. “When you see a stock like Lehman tank ... it certainly leaves some people with uncertainty as to where the U.S. financial sector is going.”

In New York, stock futures dropped on U.S. retail sales data, but had been flat as investors awaited the fate of Lehman Brothers after a tumble in its stock this week put its survival in question. For details, see [ID:nSP6809].

Concerns arose after the Wall Street fixture posted a big quarterly loss and failed to attract investors to shore up its capital position.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE begins the day at 12,612.76, rallying 115.61 points or 0.9 percent, rising for a second day as resource stocks muscled the benchmark index higher.

Worries over slowing growth and demand for resources continues to dominate, analysts say, but the market shrugged them off as it saw value after a week of sharp declines.

Elsewhere, manufacturing and industrial equipment maker ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc (ATA.TO) signed a deal to sell its precision components group, and said it expects to complete the sale in the third quarter.

On Wall Street, investors will focus on U.S. economic news including retail sales and producer prices data for August, as well as Reuters/University of Michigan consumer confidence data. ($1=$1.06 Canadian) (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan)

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