Sept 8 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index looked set to open lower on Thursday, as an unexpected rise in U.S. jobless claims weighed on investor sentiment and the price of commodities including oil and copper.
* Canadian equity futures <0#SXF:> pointed to a lower open.
* U.S. stock index futures extended losses after data showed new U.S. jobless claims rose unexpectedly last week, further evidence of a weak labor market. [.N]
* European stocks rose, extending a sharp rally from the previous session, as investors became more optimistic that policymakers would act to avert recession and tackle the euro zone debt crisis. [.EU]
* Markets in Asia were largely up, but Hong Kong and Shanghai shares surrendered early gains and ended 0.7 percent lower. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ To receive an early e-mail of Reuters Morning News Call - Canada -- a preview of market moving news -- Thomson Reuters subscribers can register at [CA/MNC] ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities benchmark, rose 0.05 percent in early trade.
* Brent and U.S. crude futures slipped in choppy trading after separate reports showed jobless claims rose in the United States last week and that the nation’s trade deficit shrank more than expected in July as exports rose. [O/R]
* Gold bounced back as the previous session’s dramatic 3 percent price slide tempted physical bullion buyers back to the market, with concerns over euro zone debt and the U.S. economy firmly underpinning interest. [GOL/]
* Copper hit a session low as the dollar rose after an unexpected increase in U.S. jobless claims and after comments from the European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet on downside risk to the economy. [MET/L]
* Research in Motion RIM.TO: South Africa has no intention to clamp down on RIM’s BlackBerry Messenger service, the country’s communications minister said, contradicting comments this week from a junior minister. [ID:nL5E7K80V1]
* Encana Corp. (ECA.TO): The natural gas producer is nearing a new joint-venture agreement to develop its British Columbia shale gas assets and the deal will have a number of key differences from a failed arrangement with PetroChina, Encana’s CEO said on Wednesday. [ID:nN1E7861IV]
* Groupe Aeroplan AER.TO: The company said it bought a minority stake in Cardlytics, a U.S.-based transaction marketing company, for $23 million and signed a long-term deal with it to get access to top retailers. [ID:nL3E7K823J]
* Descartes Systems Group Inc.(DSG.TO): The logistics management software and services provider posted a 30 percent rise in second quarterly profit, helped by an increase in its services revenue. [ID:nL3E7K81VB]
* Transat AT Inc. TRZa.TO TRZb.TO: The holiday travel operator posted a third-quarter loss, as higher fuel prices hurt margins, and forecast weak fourth-quarter results. [ID:nL3E7K822U]
* Migao Corp MGO.TO: The Chinese fertilizer maker said that its first-quarter profit fell due to maintenance shutdowns that reduced sales of some of its more profitable crop nutrient products. [ID:nN1E78705F]
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters. [RCH/CA]
* Major Drilling Group International Inc (MDI.TO) price target raised to C$16 from C$15.33 at CIBC
* Novagold Resources (NG.TO) price target cut to C$10.50 from C$10.75; rating sector perform at National Bank
* Pacific Rubiales Energy PRE.TO price target raised to C$35.75 from C$35 at CIBC
* Transcontinental TCLa.TO price target cut to C$17 from C$18.50, rating outperform at National Bank; price target cut to C$17 from C$19 at CIBC
$1= $0.98 Canadian Reporting by Karan Khemani; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson