December 31, 2008 / 1:27 PM / in 9 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open lower on retreating oil price

TORONTO, Dec 31 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock market index may open lower on Wednesday as the price of oil fell.

Still, after two straight days of triple-digit gains, despite retreating oil prices, the TSX may be able to eke out yet another advance to finish a rollercoaster trading year.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed on Tuesday at its highest level in more than four weeks in a broad-based rally. But it is still down 36 percent this year.

Volume is expected to be light again with the trading week shortened by the New Year’s Day holiday on Thursday.

Here is some of the news that may affect the market:

OIL FALLS TO $37 a BARREL

Oil slid below $37 a barrel, heading for a fall of more than 60 percent in 2008 as the global economic slowdown bit deep into energy demand. For details, see [ID:nSP253619].

LABOPHARM WINS U.S. APPROVAL FOR RYZOLT

Labopharm Inc DDS.TO said it has won its first U.S. regulatory approval for its once-daily chronic pain drug Ryzolt. Three dosage strengths are expected to be launched in the second quarter of 2009 by its U.S. marketing partner, the company said. [ID:nN31303720]

RIM EXTENDS OFFER FOR CERTICOM

Research in Motion RIM.TO said it will extend the expiry date of its takeover offer of Certicom Corp (CIC.TO) to Jan. 27 from Jan. 15. RIM has offered C$1.50 per share cash. [ID:nWNAB6255]

ROYAL BANK OF CANADA OVER-ALLOTMENT OPTION EXERCISED

Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) said underwriters of its recent share offering exercised their option to buy 8.5 million common shares at C$35.25 per share. [ID:nWEN2147]

VITRAN MODIFIES DEBT ARRANGEMENT

Transportation and logistics firm Vitran VTN.TO said it has signed an amendment to its bank syndication agreement, led by JPMorgan Chase Bank. [ID:nWNAB6243]

DATA SLATE

There is no Canadian data due for release on Wednesday. Meanwhile, U.S. data is expected to show weekly initial claims for jobless benefits dipped to 565,000 from a 26-year peak of 586,000 the previous week.

$1=$1.22 Canadian Reporting by Ka Yan Ng

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