Toronto's main stock index looked set to open higher on Wednesday, with record-high bullion prices expected to boost gold miners, helping to offset concerns about the outlook for U.S. and global economic growth.
FACTORS TO WATCH
* Canadian equity futures pointed to a higher open.
* The Canadian dollar edged higher on Wednesday morning, bouncing from two-week low hit overnight, but remained vulnerable to the global growth outlook, particularly in the United States.
* Wall Street equity futures added to their gains on Wednesday after a reading on private sector employment came in stronger than expected.
* European shares fell sharply, tracking steep price falls on Wall Street and Asia, on escalating worries about the global economy after a raft of weak data and fears over the euro zone debt crisis spreading to Italy.
* Asian stocks plunged with the Nikkei hitting its biggest daily fall since a rout after the March 11 earthquake, dragging it below key technical support levels.
COMMODITY PRICE MOVES
* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index , a global commodities benchmark, fell 0.21 percent in early trade.
* Crude oil prices fell after ratings agency Moody's assigned a negative outlook to the United States, inflaming worries of falling demand as the world's top oil user and the euro zone continue to face long-term economic challenges.
* Gold hit a record for a second straight day, driven by deepening fears over the spread of the European debt crisis and its impact on regional growth, while data showed a number of central banks bought gold in June.
* Copper fell to a three-week low on growing concerns that efforts by the United States to cut spending will hinder growth in the world's largest economy and hurt demand for metals, but supply uncertainty helped limit further falls as a strike at Chile's Escondida mine entered its 13th day.
CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH
* Agrium Inc. : The fertilizer maker and farm products retailer's quarterly profit topped estimates, helped by higher nutrient prices and strong retail sales.
* Research In Motion : The BlackBerry maker took the wraps off two more powerful versions of its touchscreen BlackBerry Torch, aiming to buy time until it can introduce a radically new software package in its smartphones.
* Silvercorp Metals Inc. : The miner reported 82 percent rise in quarterly profit, helped by higher production and robust silver prices.
* Fortis Inc : The company's second-quarter earnings rose about 5 percent as higher consumption drove up gas and energy sales.
* Aecon Group Inc. : The construction company reported a 90 percent fall in second-quarter earnings as it recorded a loss on its convertible debentures.
* Ivanhoe Mines : The company's CEO Robert Friedland flagged the company he founded is worth more than double its current value, based on recent deals in the copper sector and the quality of its Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia.