Futures Promise Positive Open

Kinder, Potash Grab Headlines

Stock futures pointed to a slightly higher opening for Canada's main stock index on Thursday, as oil prices surged on hopes that a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries that got underway in Vienna would extend ongoing output cuts.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index dropped 61.92 points to close Wednesday’s session at 15,967.72

The Canadian dollar dipped 0.13 cents at 77.6 cents U.S. Thursday morning.

December futures advanced nearly 0.1% Thursday.

Initial comments from OPEC members suggested an extension of current crude output curbs until the end of 2018.

The federal government on Wednesday backed Kinder Morgan Canada's second appeal to the country's energy regulator over local permits for its planned Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion, as related public hearings began.

Private equity-backed Canadian waste management company GFL Environmental Inc is seeking to raise as much as $1 billion in an initial public offering that could be filed as early as the first quarter.

Chinese groups have shown "broad interest" in buying Potash Corp of Saskatchewan's stake in Chilean lithium producer SQM Potash Corp Chief Executive Jochen Tilk said on Wednesday.

National Bank raised the target price on Boralex to $26.00 from $24.00

Canaccord Genuity cut the rating on Lundin Mining to hold from buy

On the economic front, Statistics Canada reported Thursday that average weekly earnings of non-farm workers in Canada were $986 in September, up 1.0% from the previous month. Compared with 12 months earlier, earnings increased 3.1%

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange deleted 11.86 points Wednesday to 779.84

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a positive open Thursday, lifted by a strong performance from Wall Street in the previous session, as investors geared up for an all-important OPEC meeting.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrials hiked 79 points, or 0.3%, to 23,997

S&P 500 futures peeked up 7.25 points, or 0.3%, at 2,632.25, while futures on the NASDAQ Composite index gained 20.75 points, or 0.3%, to 6,326.25

Such firms as Barnes & Noble, Five Below, Kroger Company and Tiffany & Co. are due out with earnings today.

Another area that has boosted markets is recent news that the Senate took a step towards passing a bill aimed at reforming the U.S. tax code on Tuesday.

With the Senate Budget Committee having approved the Senate's tax plan, this brings the upper chamber closer to a floor vote, slated to occur Thursday. Investors have been eagerly awaiting tax reform since last year's election, yet doubts over whether the Republican-led Congress could achieve this before the year is out continues to weigh on sentiment.

Aside from tax, investors will be paying close attention to data. Jobless claims and personal income data are set to come out at 8:30 a.m. ET, followed by Chicago PMI data at 9:45 a.m. ET.

Elsewhere, OPEC ministers are meeting in Vienna, where the oil cartel is set to discuss whether it will extend production cuts to cover the whole of 2018. Consequently, oil prices will be of key importance to investors during the day's trade, with prices currently trading higher in early trade.

Overseas, European stocks posted slight gains at noon local time, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 regained 0.6%, but in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index declined 1.5%

Oil prices picked up 52 cents to $57.82 U.S. per barrel.

Gold prices slid $2.70 to $1,283.50 U.S. an ounce.