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TSX Looks To Open Higher; RIM May Weigh - Canadian Commentary

Canadian stocks may open higher Friday on rebounding commodities and as traders look to the outcome of a euro zone finance ministers' meeting, scheduled today. However, Research In Motion may be under pressure after the company refrained from providing guidance after reporting quarterly earnings that came in below estimates.

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

On Thursday, the S&P/TSX Composite Index extended losses for a third session, losing 74.49 points or 0.60 percent to 12,339.36.

The price of crude oil was rebounding from its 6-week low Friday morning amid a weak dollar and as traders look to the outcome of a euro zone finance ministers' meeting. Crude for May gained $0.74 to $103.52 a barrel.

The price of gold was moving higher as the US dollar was paring recent gains, with gold for June adding $15.30 to $1,670.20 an ounce.

In corporate news from Canada, smartphone maker Research In Motion (RIM.TO) reported fourth quarter GAAP net loss of $125 million or $0.24 per share sharply down from net income of $934 million or $1.78 per share in the same quarter of fiscal 2011. Adjusted net income for the latest quarter came in at $418 million or $0.80 per share, missing consensus estimates for an earnings of $0.81 per share for the quarter.

Escalating investors' anxiety, RIM said that it expects continued pressure on revenue and earnings throughout fiscal 2013 and company noted that it will no longer provide specific quantitative guidance.

Information communications company Glacier Media Inc. (GVC.TO) reported improved fiscal 2011 net income of C$25.73 million or C$0.29 per share compared to C$13.58 million or C$0.15 per share last year.

Oil and natural gas explorer Corridor Resources (CDH.TO) reported a fourth quarter net loss of C$71.4 million or C$0.807 per share wider than last year's net loss of C$3.0 million or C$0.034 per share.

Oil and gas company Stream Oil & Gas (SKO.V) swung to profit in fourth quarter, reporting net income of $2.0 million or $0.03 per share compared to a net loss of $2.3 million or $0.04 per share in the previous year quarter.

Oil field services company New West Energy Services (NWE.V) reported third-quarter net income of $3.5 million, compared to $0.3 million last year. Yesterday, the stock surged 9 percent to close at C$0.060

In economic news, Statistics Canada said real gross domestic product edged up 0.1 percent in January after increasing 0.5 percent in December 2011. The modest rise in economic activity defied analysts expectations for a zero-growth month.

From the U.S., the Commerce Department said that personal spending rose by 0.8 percent in February following an upwardly revised 0.4 percent increase in January. Economists had expected spending to increase by 0.6 percent compared to the 0.2 percent growth that had been reported for the previous month. Meanwhile, personal income edged up by 0.2 percent in February, matching the downwardly revised increase seen in the previous month. Personal income had been expected to increase by 0.4 percent.

Elsewhere, euro zone inflation slowed less than expected in March, flash estimate published by Eurostat showed. Annual inflation fell to 2.6 percent in March from 2.7 percent in February. Economists were expecting the rate to ease to 2.5 percent. Inflation continues to stay above the European Central Bank's 'below, but close to 2 percent' target.

Meanwhile, Germany's retail trade turnover declined unexpectedly in February, data released by the Federal Statistical Office showed. Retail sales fell 1.1 percent month-on-month in real terms in February, following a 1.2 percent drop in January. Economists expected 1.2 percent increase in sales for February.

by RTT Staff Writer

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