May 13 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index could open lower on Thursday as commodity prices, including oil, struggled to make gains.
Wall Street was also set for a modest start as U.S. stock index futures trimmed gains after data showed applications for unemployment insurance fell modestly in the latest week, while the number of people still drawing benefits unexpectedly rose. [.N]
Tech stocks will be in focus after Cisco (CSCO.O) reported better-than-expected results, but its CEO said there was still need for caution.
Investors also kept a close eye on the euro zone debt problems, though some concerns eased after Portugal agreed to tough new austerity measures.
Major Asian equities rose with the Nikkei and Shanghai Composite Index up more than 2 percent.
Here is some news that could affect stock prices:
Oil prices were mixed on Thursday, with the benchmark U.S. crude contract pressured below $75 a barrel by record stockpiles in the U.S. Midwest, while London-Brent crude held above $81 a barrel. [O/R]
Copper was steady on Thursday as investors weighed relief over new austerity steps pledged by Portugal and Spain to tackle their debt against concerns about the potential impact the austerity will have on growth. [MET/L]
Gold steadied on Thursday, but analysts expect the precious metal to extend gains to new records over coming days as waves of investor money come flooding into the market looking for safety. [GOL/]
The Canadian dollar rose to its highest in more than a week against the U.S. dollar on Thursday morning, supported by a dash away from the euro. [CAD/]
Gildan Activewear (GIL.TO) reported a higher quarterly profit, handily topping estimates helped by lower commodity costs and improved sales. It also boosted its year-end sales forecast. [ID:nN13261938]
FNX Mining Co FNX.TO posted a first-quarter profit on Thursday, on the back of a strong rebound in copper and nickel prices. [ID:nN13229633]
Crescent Point Energy Corp (CPG.TO) said on Wednesday it will pay C$1.1 billion, including debt, to buy the 79 percent of private oil producer Shelter Bay Energy it doesn’t own to boost its holdings in the prolific Bakken oil field in Saskatchewan. [ID:nN12221366]
International Inc (HON.N) said on Thursday that it is buying software maker Matrikon Inc MTK.TO for $142 million. [ID:nN13259750]
Drugmaker Aeterna Zentaris Inc’s AEZ.TO first-quarter loss narrowed, due to lower administrative and research and development costs. [ID:nN13204381]
Neo Material Technologies Inc NEM.TO, a maker of magnetic material and magnets, posted higher-than-expected quarterly profit, driven mainly by robust demand for its specialty materials. [ID:nSGE64C0GG]
Silver Wheaton Corp’s SLW.TO first-quarter profit nearly tripled, helped by a 45 percent increase in average realized silver prices. [ID:nSGE64B0LW]
Capstone Mining Corp’s (CS.TO) first-quarter profit trailed estimates, hurt by production constraints at one of its mines, and the copper producer expressed caution on its ability to reach its 2010 production outlook. [ID:nSGE64B0LD]
Cascades Inc (CAS.TO) reported lower first-quarter results, hurt by a sharp rise in cost of raw materials, and the packaging and paper-products company expects a rebound in profitability by the second quarter. [ID:nSGE64C0EE]
Oil and gas company Crocotta Energy Inc CTA.TO posted a narrower quarterly loss, helped by a 24 percent rise in production and higher commodity prices. [ID:nSGE64C0EW]
Exploration and development company Aura Minerals Inc (ORA.TO) posted a narrower quarterly loss, as gold production grew 32 percent. [ID:nSGE64B0LU]
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters. [RCH/CA]
Note: All values in RESEARCH ROUNDUP in Canadian currency, unless otherwise stated.
* Artis REIT (AX_u.TO) price target raised to $12.50 from $12 rating outperform at Macquarie
* Aurizon Mines (ARZ.TO) rating cut to market perform from outperform at Raymond James
* Canadian Apartment Properties (CAR_u.TO) price target raised to $13.75 from $13.25; rating underperform at Raymond James
* Canyon Services FRC.TO rating raised to strong buy from outperform at Raymond James
* Eastern Platinum (ELR.TO) rating raised to outperform from market perform at Raymond James
* Paramount Resources (POU.TO) price target raised to $24 from $22; rating overweight at Thomas Weisel
* Taseko Mines (TKO.TO) rating raised to outperform from market perform at Raymond James
* Total Energy (TOT.TO) price target raised to $10 from $9; rating overweight at Thomas Weisel
$1=$1.02 Canadian Reporting by Bangalore newsroom, editing by Savio D'Souza and Jeffrey Hodgson