April 21, 2008 / 1:17 PM / 10 years ago

Record oil seen boosting Toronto stocks

TORONTO, April 21 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock market index was set for a strong open on Monday as record oil prices are seen boosting the resource-laden market and investors gear up for the corporate results rush later in the week.

Investors are also expected to shrug off an impending interest rate cut due out on Tuesday as most expect the Bank of Canada to slash interest rates by 50 basis points to 3.00 percent.

The main push for the day will come from the influential energy group, which accounts for about 30 percent of the overall market, as U.S. crude oil prices strike new highs.

U.S. crude oil topped $117 a barrel on worries of supply disruptions from major producers and comments from OPEC that there is no need to raise output.

“We’re still going to focus on commodities prices and earnings releases,” said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall and MacTier.

“Those are the two drivers not only today but for the balance of this week because there is a whole schedule for companies that are due to report. We’ll see how the Canadian companies are faring.”

Nakamoto expects the oil producers to unveil stellar results for the period as they continue to benefit from record prices.

Among the companies due to report this week are EnCana Corp (ECA.TO), Nova Chemicals NCX.TO, Potash Corp (POT.TO) and Suncor (SU.TO).

Financial issues could also be in the spotlight on Monday after Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) repeated on Monday it expects cost synergies from its acquisition of Commerce Bancorp of $310 million before tax, to be realized by the end of fiscal 2009.

TD said ongoing restructuring and integration charges of $420 million before tax will impact TD‘S income statement and be identified as items of note in the bank’s future financial results.

Meanwhile, Bank of America (BAC.N), the second-largest U.S. bank, said first-quarter profit fell, hurt by write-downs and rising credit losses.

Among individual companies, Loblaw Cos (L.TO) could attract attention after the grocer unveiled a string of management changes including a new president.

Meanwhile, Biovail Corp BVF.TO could also see interest after it named a new chairman and a new chief executive.

Metals company Timminco Ltd TIM.TO could see activity after influential business publication Barron’s said on Sunday that the Canadian metal-smelting company’s shares are “far ahead of reality” and could drop if its plan for purifying silicon for solar cells disappoints expectations.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE begins the week at 14,237.06 after charging ahead 4.1 percent on the week and rising above the 14,000-mark to highs not seen since early November. ($1=$1.00 Canadian) (Reporting by Scott Anderson; editing by Renato Andrade)

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