- Toronto's main stock index looked set to open higher on Tuesday, taking cues from its U.S. and European counterparts and helped by firmer commodity prices.

FACTORS TO WATCH

Canadian equity futures pointed to a higher open.

U.S. stock index futures rose following an equities sell-off the day before, but anxiety over Europe's debt crisis was seen keeping markets jittery ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's assessment of the U.S. economy. <.N>

European shares rose, bouncing from a steep sell-off in the previous session, though strategists said investors would need to feel more confident about a resolution to the euro zone crisis before the market could break out of a recent range. <.EU>

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index <.CRB>, a global commodities benchmark, rose 0.42 percent in early trade.

Brent crude rose over $108 after a sell-off in the previous session provided investors with some buying opportunity and after the International Energy Agency (IEA) forecast demand growth next year in the teeth of an economic slowdown.

Spot gold lifted off seven-week lows as the euro recovered modestly and equities steadied, but all gains looked vulnerable on the threat of possible credit rating downgrades for euro zone nations.

Copper edged up as the dollar weakened, but prices still hovered around their lowest levels in nearly two weeks as investors remained skeptical of Europe's efforts to pull itself out of a debt crisis.

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

Ivanhoe Mines : Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto confirmed that an independent arbitrator had cleared the way for it to bid for Ivanhoe but said it had no current intention of making an offer.

Connacher Oil & Gas Ltd. : Investors in the oil sands producer are turning up the pressure on the company to begin a formal sales process, saying plans to find a partner to keep operating as a stand-alone enterprise won't add enough value.

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters.

Cathedral Energy Services price target raised to C$8.75 from C$8.50 at CIBC

Petrominerales
target price raised to C$21 from C$20 at Raymond James

Sun Life Financial price target cut to C$23 from C$26.50 at Canaccord Genuity; price target raised to C$23 from C$22 at CIBC; price target cut to C$24 from C$25 at National Bank Financial

(Reporting by Karan Khemani; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)