July 30, 2008 / 1:14 PM / 11 years ago

Toronto stock index set for higher open

*TSX set for higher open despite weak resources

*Canadian Oil Sands may be in focus after results

*Great-West LifeCo could draw attention

TORONTO, July 30 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index was set for a higher open on Wednesday, as strong quarterly results from Canadian Oil Sands Trust COS_u.TO could overcome weakness in the price of oil and gold.

Canadian Oil Sands, owner of the biggest stake in Syncrude Canada Ltd, surged back into the black in the second quarter as oil prices jumped to a record, it said after the market’s close on Tuesday.

The trust also raised its quarterly distribution by 25 percent to C$1.25 a unit, despite reporting lower production and rising operating costs.

The news could set a positive tone for the market, said Fred Ketchen, director of equity trading at ScotiaMcLeod.

“It’s just another indication of the continuing strength in the earnings power of our energy companies,” he said. “It focuses on the strength in the energy sector and the contribution it makes to the economy and market.”

Other results that could draw attention on Wednesday include Great-West LifeCo Inc (GWO.TO), which should provide clues on how well domestic life insurers are holding up versus the banks given the fears over the health of the U.S. financial system.

“There is a lot of attention being paid to the financial sector and a lot of questions being asked,” said Ketchen.

Elsewhere, Brookfield Properties Corp BPO.TO could give investors an idea of how companies outside of the volatile resource and financial sectors chalk up.

Other companies that could be in the spotlight include WestJet (WJA.TO), Sherritt (S.TO), SNC-Lavalin (SNC.TO) and Macdonald Dettwiler & Associates Ltd MDA.TO.

Oil extended losses on Wednesday, slipping to around $122 a barrel, following steep losses in the previous session which pushed crude down to $122.19, after sliding as low as $120.42. Bullion prices followed oil’s descent.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE begins the day at 13,342.55, up 38.59 points, or 0.3 percent, as Teck Cominco’s $14.1 billion offer for Fording Canadian Coal Trust and a gain by financials offset a drop in the resources.

In New York, stock futures pointed to a higher open following a report that U.S. private employers unexpectedly added 9,000 jobs in July. ($1=$1.02 Canadian) (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; Editing by Scott Anderson)

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