TORONTO, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index looked set to open slightly higher on Wednesday, boosted by a rise in prices for gold and other commodities, which could offset investor caution after the U.S. Federal Reserve opened the door to more monetary easing.
FACTORS TO WATCH
* Canadian equity futures <0#SXF:> pointed to a higher open.
* Canada’s dollar touched a session low versus the U.S. currency on Wednesday after domestic data showed retail sales fell unexpectedly in July. [CAD/]
* U.S. stock index futures fell on Wednesday on concerns about the inflation outlook and as the Federal Reserve inched closer to expanding its quantitative easing policy, sending gold prices to a record high. [.N]
* European shares fell on Wednesday, with banks lower on lingering concerns over the pace of the global economic recovery following the latest Federal Reserve’s assessment. [.EU]
* Asian markets were mixed with the Nikkei down 0.4 percent, but losses were stemmed by expectations that a strong yen rise would bring further Japanese intervention.
COMMODITY PRICE MOVES
* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities benchmark, rose 0.61 percent in early trade.
* Oil rose above $75 a barrel on Wednesday, recovering some of the previous session’s losses, supported by a weaker dollar but ongoing U.S. demand doubts limited gains. [O/R]
* Gold rose for a third day on Wednesday to hit record highs above $1,290 an ounce after the Federal Reserve’s signal that it was prepared to pump fresh cash into the economy hurt the dollar and whet investor appetite for bullion. [GOL/]
* Copper firmed on Wednesday on the back of a weaker dollar but the market looked heavy after recent gains and investors were reluctant to press higher in the absence of Chinese players and fresh impetus. [MET/L]
CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH
* Potash Corp (POT.TO): China’s Sinochem Corp has hired banks to advise the company on how to foil BHP Billiton’s $39 billion bid for Potash, sources said. [ID:nN21234994]
* Forzani Group Ltd FGL.TO: The retailer said on Tuesday sales rose in its sporting goods stores opened at least a year during the back-to-school period compared with the same weeks of 2009. [ID:nN21184287]
* Research In Motion RIM.TO: India is in talks with RIM to gain access to BlackBerry corporate e-mails after securing access to instant messages sent via the devices, a senior government source said on Tuesday. [ID:nSGE68L03I]
--- The Blackberry maker may use a developers’ conference next week to announce plans for a tablet computer to compete with Apple and Amazon, the Wall Street Journal said. [ID:nN21183657]
* Gaz Metro LP GZM_u.TO: The company said it received approval from a court in Quebec for its previously announced plan to convert the public ownership structure of the company into a new dividend-paying corporation. [ID:nSGE68K0MQ]
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters. [RCH/CA]
* Paradigm cuts CAE Inc (CAE.TO) to hold from buy.
($1=$1.02 Canadian) (Reporting by Bangalore newsroom and Jennifer Kwan; editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)