RTTNews - Canadian stocks could struggle to find direction in early trading on Thursday, following three straight days of gains. A drop in crude oil may offset optimism from mild gains seen overseas.

Crude oil prices are down 59 cents to $60.95 after surging sharply in the previous session. Gold and copper prices are little-changed.

Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM.TO) and Visto Corporation announced that they have reached a deal to settle all patent litigation between the companies. As part of the deal, RIM will pay US$267.5 million.

Nexen (NXY.TO) reported that its second-quarter net income attributable to the company was C$20 million or C$0.04 per share, compared to C$380 million or C$0.70 per share in the same quarter of last year.

Coeur d'Alene Mines Corp. (CDM.TO) said it has agreed to sell back to Perilya Limited its 100% interest in the silver contained at the Broken Hill mine in Australia for US$55.0 million in cash.

Randgold Resources Limited (GOLD) announced that it proposed to acquire Moto Goldmines Limited (MGL.TO) for C$5.00 per share.

Across the border, JP Morgan reported net income of $2.7 billion or $0.28 per share for the second quarter. Analysts expected the company to report earnings of $0.04 per share for the quarter.

A U.S. Labor Department report showed that jobless claims fell to 522,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 569,000. Economists had been expecting jobless claims to fall to about 530,000 from the 565,000 originally reported for the previous week.

On Wednesday, the S&P/TSX Composite Index climbed 229.31 points or 2.29% to settle at 10,215.46. This marked the best finish since July 3.

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