August 13, 2008 / 12:53 PM / 11 years ago

Toronto stocks set to open mixed as oil, gold firm

(Refiles to fix dropped word in headline)

*TSX set to open mixed before oil, retail data

*Oil and gold prices may provide support

*Biovail may be in focus after result

TORONTO, Aug 13 (Reuters) - Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index was set to open mixed on Wednesday as oil and gold prices firmed, and investors are likely to take cues from U.S. crude oil inventory data and retail sales numbers for market direction.

Oil nudged up to around $114 a barrel and gold also firmed, while other base metals sagged.

It could be an “exceptionally volatile” day depending on the oil data, said Joe Ismail, technical analyst at Maison Placements Canada.

If the number is higher than anticipated, the pressure will be on the downside for oil. But if the numbers are lower the price of oil could pop up, said Ismail.

As well, the market will also likely find direction throughout the day from the retail data. Total sales at U.S. retailers edged down 0.1 percent in July on another big drop in auto sales, according to government figures.

In company news, Biovail Corp BVF.TO, whose shareholders recently approved an incumbent slate of directors, ending an ugly proxy fight, may be in focus after it reported a second-quarter loss, hurt by restructuring charges and legal and proxy contest costs.

Elsewhere, Uranium One Inc UUU.TO could be in focus after it said it had a steeper second-quarter loss, while home and auto insurer ING Canada Inc IIC.TO said profit fell 42 percent in the second quarter as weak equity markets hurt investment gains and severe weather knocked underwriting income.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE begins the day at 13,167.00, down 36.19 points, or 0.27 percent.

In New York, stock futures pointed to a flat open ahead of the retail figures. ($1=$1.07 Canadian) (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; Editing by Jeffrey Jones)

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