March futures on the S&P/TSX index were up 0.4% at 6:57 a.m. ET (1157 GMT), mirroring gains at their Wall Street peers. [.N]

Oil prices rose as the International Energy Agency supported OPEC in forecasting strong global demand growth this year, with U.S. output disruption and Middle East tensions further strengthening prices.[O/R]

A weaker dollar lifted prices of most metals, with copper prices rebounding from their six-week lows. The safe-haven appeal of gold boosted the price of the precious metal. [GOL/] [MET/L]

Investors will look to domestic retail sales data, due on Friday, for hints about the Bank of Canada's monetary policy path, ahead of the central bank's meeting in the upcoming week.

Across the border, weekly job claims data in the U.S., due at 8:30 am ET, could help investors evaluate the strength of the American labor market.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index ended Wednesday lower at 20,695.02, hitting a nearly four-week low. [.TO]

Declines in resource-linked shares and rate-sensitive stocks dragged on the index after upbeat retail sales data from the United States eroded expectations of an early rate cut by the Fed.

On the companies front, brokerage TD Securities initiated coverage of oil and gas pipeline company TC Energy Corp with a "buy" rating.

Five brokerages cut price targets on oil and gas producer Birchcliff Energy after the company revised its five-year outlook to reflect slower production.


Gold futures: $2,015.4; +0.4% [GOL/]

US crude: $72.67; +0.2% [O/R]

Brent crude: $77.88; +0.0% [O/R]

(Reporting by Purvi Agarwal in Bengaluru; Editing by Tasim Zahid)