August 22, 2008 / 1:26 PM / 11 years ago

Toronto stocks set for softer open on profit-taking

*Oil and metals to be in focus after rally

*RBC seeks ARS deal with U.S. watchdogs: newspaper

*HudBay says to shutter zinc mine, cut 200 jobs

TORONTO, Aug 22 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index is set for a soft open on Friday, tugged lower by commodities as investor take profits following a surge in the previous two sessions.

The heavyweight energy sector may fall after four straight sessions of gains made this week, as oil eased below $120 a barrel, while materials could fall as gold retreated on a firmer U.S. dollar, while some base metals also slipped.

Combined, the two sectors comprise about half of the index’s weight.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see a short term pause,” said Joe Ismail, technical analyst at Maison Placements Canada. Ismail.”Maybe during the day we’ll see a bit of profit-taking after yesterday’s gains.”

Financials may see choppy activity ahead of Canadian bank earnings next week, but news that Korea Development Bank [KDB.UL] said investment bank Lehman Brothers LEH.N was one of its options for an acquisition may provide support. For details, see [ID:nSEO332057]

Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) will be in focus after after the Globe and Mail newspaper said it was in settlement talks with U.S. regulators over its role in the U.S. auction-rate securities market. [ID:nN22373526].

The National Post said rival Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) is in talks to sell its mutual fund division to CI Financial CIX_u.TO in a deal that would give Canada’s third largest bank a large stake in CI. [ID:nN22370923]

Mid-tier copper and zinc producer HudBay Minerals Inc (HBM.TO) may be in focus after it said late on Thursday it is closing the Balmat, New York zinc mine and concentrator due to low prices for the metal. The company is expected to cut 200 jobs. [ID:nN21300513]

A research report cited in the Globe said it will be “a miracle” if Timminco Ltd TIM.TO can deliver on promises to produce silicon for solar cells more cheaply. [ID:n22375584]

In New York, stock futures pointed to a higher open after investor Warren Buffett said he had no bets against the dollar and stocks are more attractive now than a year ago.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE begins the day at 13,539.22, up 1.42 percent, as a surge in resources added to gains made throughout the week. ($1=$1.05 Canadian) (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Janet Guttsman)

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