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TSX May Open Higher On Commodities - Canadian Commentary

Canadian stocks are poised for a positive open Friday amid firm commodities, with energy prices extending their recent highs. However, gains may be limited on profit taking after three straight days of gains and cautiousness ahead of a Group of 20 meeting over the weekend.

U.S. stock futures were pointing to a marginally higher open.

On Thursday, the S&P/TSX Composite Index gained 30.03 points or 0.24 percent to 12,731.28.

The price of crude oil was steady at its 9-month high Friday morning amid supply concerns and weak U.S. dollar. Crude for April added $0.35 to $108.18 a barrel.

The price of gold was hovering near its three-month high amid a generally weak U.S. dollar. Gold for April eased $5.80 to $1,780.50 an ounce.

In corporate news from Canada, gold miner Iamgold Corp. (IMG.TO) reported improved fourth quarter net earnings of $133.6 million or $0.35 per share compared to $124.1 million or $0.33 per share in the year ago quarter. Adjusted net earnings were $108.5 million or $0.29 per share from $119.2 million or $0.32 per share in the fourth quarter of 2010. Analysts were expecting the company to report earnings of $0.33 per share this quarter. As previously disclosed in January 2012, the company expects attributable gold production for 2012 to be in the range of 840,000 to 910,000 ounces.

Eldorado Gold (ELD.TO) reported a much improved 2011 profit of $318.7 million or $0.58 per share compared to last year's $221.0 million or $0.40 per share.

Asset management company Onex Corp. (OCX.TO) reported a much wider fourth quarter consolidated net loss $112 million compared to a loss of $4 million in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Automotive supplier Magna International (MG.TO) fourth-quarter net income attributable to the company rose to $312 million or $1.32 per share from $219 million $0.89 per share in the prior-year quarter. Analysts were expecting the company to report earnings of $1.02 per share this quarter. Further, the company increased the quarterly dividend to $0.275 per share from the prior $0.25 per share.

Financial services provider Calloway Real Estate Investment Trust (CWT_UN.TO) reported that its fourth-quarter Funds from operations increased by 14.6 percent to C$54.8 million or C$0.449 per unit compared to the same period in 2010.

In economic news from the euro zone, the German economy contacted 0.2 percent quarter-on-quarter in the fourth quarter, according to an updated estimate from the Federal Statistical Office. The year-on-year growth rate of 1.5 percent was also confirmed by the report. The 2011 growth rate of 3 percent was unchanged from the preliminary estimate.

Elsewhere, the U.K. economy contracted in the fourth quarter for the first time in a year, in line with previous estimate, second estimate released by the Office for National Statistics showed. Gross domestic product dropped 0.2 percent sequentially in the fourth quarter, as initially estimated. Meanwhile, the third quarter growth was revised down to 0.5 percent from 0.6 percent.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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