August 18, 2008 / 1:14 PM / 11 years ago

Toronto stocks to open higher as commodities eyed

*TSX set to open higher after Friday’s slide

*Price of oil and gold seen in focus

*Key inflation data due later this week

TORONTO, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index is expected to open higher on Monday, buoyed by oil and gold after a slump in commodity prices last week.

Oil backed off to around $113 a barrel as supply fears related to Tropical Storm Fay eased, while gold and some base metals firmed.

Commodities and the U.S. dollar will be the main focus, said Steve Ibel, institutional equities trader at Beacon Securities, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The Toronto Stock Exchange main index capped a losing week with a plunge on Friday to its lowest level since March, as energy and materials stocks fell on tumbling oil and metal prices.

For this week investors will eye Canadian inflation, wholesale trade data and retail sales figures to gauge the health of the economy.

“It’s going to be choppy and largely sideways most of day until we get more important news out later in the week,” said Ibel.

In company news, quarterly results from toy maker Mega Brands Inc MB.TO could be in focus, while Corel Corp CRE.TO could draw attention after it announced the withdrawal of Vector Captial-sponsored offer.

The market could also find direction from the United States, where investors will likely eye data from the National Association of Home Builders’ housing market index for August.

No. 2 U.S. home improvement chain Lowe’s Companies Inc (LOW.N) (LOW.N) reported stronger-than-expected quarterly profit, which helped to send U.S. stock futures higher.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE begins the day at 13,096.70, down 262.21 points, or 2 percent. (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Janet Guttsman)

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