April 11 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index looked set to open higher on Wednesday as stronger-than-expected Canadian housing data gave investors a reason to be optimistic after shares dropped to their lowest point of the year in the previous session.
FACTORS TO WATCH
* Canadian equity futures pointed to a higher open.
* U.S. stock index futures bounced back after five days of losses on the S&P 500 that brought the benchmark index down more than 4 percent.
* European shares extended their advance in late morning trade as bargain hunters moved in after steep losses in the previous session, and with some taking a more positive view of the latest Italian debt auction.
COMMODITY PRICE MOVES
* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, a global commodities benchmark, rose 0.14 percent in early trade.
* Oil edged higher to around $120 a barrel, after falling to its lowest in almost two months, supported by increased investor appetite for riskier assets that also led to gains in equities and the euro.
* Gold steadied, following four straight days of rallies, as the intensifying euro zone debt crisis threatened to undermine the euro and offset any potential safe-haven demand for the metal.
* Copper steadied from four percent losses the prior session, holding near the $8,000 mark as twin concerns of slowing U.S. and Chinese growth curbed demand expectations for the metal, but consumer buying cushioned losses.
CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH
* Dollarama Inc. : The dollar-store chain reported higher fourth-quarter profit, helped by strong holiday season sales, and also raised its quarterly dividend.
* Timmins Gold Corp. : The miner's first-quarter production rose 17 percent and the company said it expects output to rise in the second quarter as well.
* PetroBakken Energy Ltd : The oil firm reported higher average production for the first quarter and reiterated its capital budget for this year at C$875 million.
* Viterra : Australia's competition regulator, ACCC has halted a proposal by the grain handler to auction port capacity after similar auctions in other parts of the country have exposed problems allocating capacity despite a bumper harvest.
* WiLAN Inc. : The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has confirmed the validity of the company's patent for V-chip technology, which enables objectionable television content to be blocked, the company said on Tuesday.
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters.
* AG Growth International : CIBC raises price target to C$40 from C$36.50
* Canadian Pacific Railway : NBF raises to sector perform from underperform; National Bank Financial raises target to C$74 from C$72
* Cequence Energy : CIBC initiates coverage with sector performer rating
* CI Financial Corp. : Barclays ups target to C$23 from C$22, rating equal weight
* IGM Financial : Barclays raises target to C$47 from C$45, rating under weight
* Inmet Mining : RBC cuts price target to C$80 from C$85; rating outperform
* Twin Butte Energy : CIBC initiates coverage with sector outperformer rating
* Vicwest Inc. : CIBC raises price target to C$15 from C$14
* Whitecap Resources : CIBC initiates coverage with sector outperformer rating