Canadian stocks will look to extend their slight gains from the previous session Thursday morning, and early signals are mostly positive after an encouraging earnings result from tech bellwether Apple drove US stock futures higher.

Toronto stocks closed modestly higher on Wednesday, but gave back most of the daily gains with a sharp retreat in the final half-hour of the session. Energy stocks led the market higher, but late weakness in the financial sector pared much of the day's advance. The S&P/TSX Composite Index added 31.98 points or 0.34% to end the session at 9,279.15.

Energy stocks may help lead Thursday's charge, as the price of oil jumped back toward $50 a barrel on renewed expectations for demand.

In earnings news from the oil patch, Suncor Energy (SU.TO) reported a first-quarter loss, driven primarily by accounting impacts from mark-to-market and foreign exchange losses, non-structural charges for deferred growth projects and lower price realizations. Excluding the effects of accounting impacts, foreign exchange losses and non-structural charges, the company reported a profit for the quarter that was down nearly 72% from last year.

In the tech sector, Celestica Inc. (CLS.TO) announced that its first quarter GAAP net earnings were US$19.2 million or US$0.08 per share, compared to GAAP net earnings of US$29.8 million or US$0.13 per share for the same period last year.

Agricultural product producer Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. (POT) reported first-quarter net income of US$308.3 million or US$1.02 per share, compared to US$566.0 million or US$1.74 per share in the same quarter last year.

On average, 16 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to earn US$0.86 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

IMAX Corp. (IMX.TO) announced an agreement with China Film Group Corp. to open an IMAX theatre in a new multiplex development in the city of Tianjin, China.

Canadian retail sales edged up 0.2% in February to $33.7 billion, according to data released Thursday by Stats Canada. This comes after large declines in retail sales in November and December, followed by a partial recovery in January. February's slight increase was price-driven, as sales were down 0.3% in volume terms.

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