Feb 24 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index looked set to open higher on Thursday, with rising oil prices likely to lift energy shares, offsetting investor fears that rising oil could derail global economic growth.
* Canadian equity futures <0#SXF:> pointed to a higher open.
* U.S. stock index futures fell, signaling another down day on Wall Street, as oil continued to rally on turmoil in Libya, denting investor sentiment. [.N]
* European shares extended this week’s losses as the lingering crisis in Libya sparked an $8-per-barrel jump in Brent crude, fanning further concern about its impact on inflation and growth. [.EU]
* Major markets in Asia were in red, while China’s main stock index ended up as coal shares rose on expectations that surging oil price may lift demand for alternative energy sources.
* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities benchmark, rose 0.94 percent in early trade.
* Oil surged more than 7.5 percent to its highest since August 2008 on concern unrest in Libya could spread to other major oil producers in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia. [O/R]
* Gold steadied near seven-week highs, as investor fears over inflation stemming from the spike in crude oil were partially offset by pockets of profit-taking after the market’s 6 percent rise this month. [GOL/]
* Copper fell on concerns that higher oil prices driven by violence in the Middle East may slow economic growth and cripple demand for industrial metals, and as plentiful copper supply also weighed on prices. [MET/L]
* Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO): Canada’s No. 5 bank said on Thursday that quarterly earnings rose a higher-than-expected 22.5 percent due to loan growth and lower provisions for credit losses. [ID:nN24207641]
* National Bank of Canada (NA.TO). The bank said on Thursday its first-quarter profit rose 45 percent, as stronger consumer and business loan growth more than offset a decline in trading income. [ID:nN23168967]
* Loblaw Cos Ltd. (L.TO). Canada’s No. 1 grocer said on Thursday its quarterly profit fell as it invested more in information technology and food and drugstore sales dropped. [ID:nN23175194]
* Magna International Inc. (MG.TO): The world’s No.3 auto parts maker returned to a quarterly profit and hiked its dividend but earnings fell short of expectations on higher input costs and as losses deepened at its electric car unit. [ID:nN18301743]
* Yamana Gold (YRI.TO): The miner said on Wednesday its profit rose sharply, as record gold prices in the fourth-quarter helped boost results. [ID:nN23196905]
* Inmet Mining IMN.TO: The miner said on Wednesday its fourth-quarter profit rose on the back of higher copper prices and strong results from its Las Cruces copper mine in Spain. [ID:nN23180197]
* SXC Health Solutions Corp. SXC.TO. The company posted a quarterly profit that fell below analysts’ estimates as expenses at its pharmacy benefits management segment rose, and forecast 2011 earnings below expectations. [ID:nL3E7DO19U]
* Pason Systems Inc (PSI.TO): The company, which rents out oilfield instruments, on Wednesday reported a higher quarterly profit that missed market estimates, hurt by weakness at its international operations. [ID:nL3E7DN2ML]
* Centerra Gold (CG.TO). The company’s fourth-quarter profit rose nearly 10 percent, as a higher gold price overshadowed the impact of lower output and higher costs. [ID:nN24261058]
* Imax Corp. IMX.TO. The big-screen movie company said on Thursday its fourth-quarter profit rose, driven largely by a growing network of big-screen Imax theaters across the globe. [ID:nN22290417]
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters. [RCH/CA]
* Crew Energy Inc (CR.TO) price target raised to C$20.75 from C$20.50; rating market perform at Raymond James
* Legacy Oil Plus Gas LEG.TO price target raised to C$20.50 from C$18.75; rating buy at Canaccord Genuity
* Terago Inc (TGO.TO) price target raised to C$11.50 from C$9 at Canaccord Genuity
* Alange Energy Corp ALE.V price target cut to C$0.30 from C$0.35; rating market perform at Raymond James
* Canaco Resources Inc CAN.V price target raised to C$7.25 from C$6.50; rating speculative buy at Canaccord Genuity
$1= $0.98 Canadian Reporting by Shrutee Sarkar; editing by Jeffrey Hodgson