July 31, 2008 / 1:05 PM / 11 years ago

Toronto stock index set for higher open

*TSX may get boost from Barrick results

*Oil pulls back from Wednesday’s gains

*Imperial Oil results may be in focus

TORONTO, July 31 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index was expected to open higher on Thursday, extending its previous gains, as a ream of quarterly results including mining heavyweight Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) may cheer investors.

Barrick Gold said its second-quarter profit rose 22 percent, as soaring gold prices outpaced rising costs.

The results could help to set a positive tone for the day, extending the benchmark index’s more than 2 percent rise in the previous session, said Joe Ismail, technical analyst at Maison Placements Canada.

“It’s still on a positive note and I wouldn’t expect it to change its course in the short term,” Ismail said of the benchmark index’s performance.

“We still have enough momentum to push forward unless we get a complete surprise in one of the major company earnings.”

Other results that could draw attention on Thursday include Goldcorp Inc (G.TO) and Imperial Oil Ltd (IMO.TO), Canada’s No. 2 oil exploration and refining firm.

Crude prices have soared in the last several months so investors are monitoring them very closely to see how companies are faring, said Ismail.

Another closely watched company result may be Sun Life Financial Inc (SLF.TO), which could shed some light on how Canadian financial services companies are doing given the fret over the health of the U.S. financial system, said Ismail.

Elsewhere, Cott Corp (BCB.TO) could be in the spotlight after the world’s biggest maker of private label soft drinks reported a second-quarter loss.

Oil eased to about $126 a barrel, off from Wednesday’s big gains following U.S. government data that showed an unexpected drop in gasoline stocks.

Gold rose on a softening U.S. dollar and firming oil.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE begins the day at 13,683.21, up 340.66 points, or 2.55 percent, on the energy sector, which rallied along with oil prices.

In New York, stock futures pointed to a lower open after data showed U.S. gross domestic product growth in the second-quarter was lower-than-expected, and as weekly jobless claims rose. ($1=$1.02 Canadian) (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; Editing by Scott Anderson)

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