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TSX Poised For Positive Open - Canadian Commentary

Canadian stocks are poised for a positive open Thursday amid flat commodities and mixed cues from the global equity markets. While most Asian markets ended higher overnight, European shares were hovering in the green after euro area's industrial output showed a surprising rise and Italy succeeded in raising debt closer to the upper ceiling of its targeted amount.

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

On Wednesday, the S&P/TSX Composite Index snapped its five-session losing streak to gain 91.47 points or 0.77 percent to 12,026.76.

The price of crude oil was steady near $103 Thursday morning, with crude for May delivery edging up $0.02 to $102.72 a barrel.

Earlier today, the IEA in its monthly Oil Market Report, held its 2012 oil demand growth forecast steady at 0.8 million barrels per day (mbd) to 89.90 mbd. Meanwhile, the OPEC, in its Oil Market Report released today, said world oil demand growth in 2012 would remain at 0.9 mbd and noted that improving consumption in Japan could positively impact world oil demand growth.

The price of gold was ticking lower Thursday morning even as the US dollar was paring its recent gains versus a basket of currencies. Gold for June delivery slipped $5.40 to $1,654.90 an ounce.

In corporate news from Canada, cable telecommunications services provider Cogeco Cable Inc. (CCA.TO) posted second quarter profit of C$83.13 million or C$1.70 per share, higher than C$32.1 million or C$0.66 per share last year. However, earnings per share from continuing operations fell to C$0.63 from C$0.85 in the prior-year quarter. Analysts were expecting the company to report earnings of C$0.99 per share this quarter.

Electronics products maker Rutter Inc. (RUT.TO) slipped in to the red in second quarter, reporting net loss of C$107,000 or C$0.002 per share compared to net income of C$92,000 or C$0.001 per share in the same quarter last year.

Base-metals miner Lundin Mining (LUN.TO) said it would acquire an 80 percent interest in the Touro copper project, owned by two private Spanish companies for about 60 million euros

Media and entertainment company Corus Entertainment (CJR_B.TO) reported a much improved second quarter net profit of C$31.60 million or C$0.38 per share compared to net profit of C$27.30 million or C$0.34 per share reported for the same period last year.

In economic news, Statistics Canada said trade surplus decreased from $1.9 billion in January to $292 million in February as exports declined 3.9 percent and imports edged up 0.2 percent.

From south of the border, the U.S. Labor Department said that initial jobless claims rose to 380,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 367,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to edge up to 359,000 from the 357,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Separately, a report from the US Commerce Department showed U.S. exports ticking up slightly with imports falling bringing the trade deficit to $46 billion, down notably from the $52.5 billion mark posted in January. Most experts had expected the deficit to shrink somewhat from January levels, but the consensus of economists had the deficit much higher, around $51.7 billion.

Elsewhere, industrial production in the euro area unexpectedly increased in February, helped by a marked increase in energy production, data released by statistical office Eurostat showed. Industrial production moved up 0.5 percent on a monthly basis in February, after remaining flat in the previous month. Economists were looking for a 0.2 percent decrease. Production in the 27-member European Union edged up 0.2 percent month-on-month during the month.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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