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Nov 16 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index looked set to open higher on Friday, ahead of key U.S. budget talks aimed at preventing large-scale automatic fiscal tightening.
* As President Barack Obama and congressional leaders prepared for budget and tax talks aimed at preventing the U.S. economy from falling back into recession next year, Democrats and Republicans dug in on their long-held opposing positions.
* Astral Media Inc and its suitor, BCE Inc , are poised to announce a new takeover deal that seeks to overcome regulatory opposition with a plan to auction off a number of Astral's English broadcast assets, according to a report in the Globe and Mail.
* Malaysian state oil company Petroliam Nasional Berhad has submitted a modified bid for Progress Energy Resources, a Petronas source with knowledge of the matter said, after the Canadian government blocked a C$5.2 billion deal last month.
* Major banks have announced some 160,000 job cuts since early last year and with more lay-offs to come as the industry restructures, many will leave the shrinking sector for good as redundancies outpace new hires by roughly two-to-one.
* Egypt opened a tiny window to emergency peace diplomacy in Gaza on Friday, but hopes for even a brief ceasefire while its prime minister was inside the bombarded enclave to talk to leaders of the Islamist Hamas movement were immediately dashed.
* Exports from Greece and Portugal, where years of credit-fuelled imports saddled the countries with huge debts, grew strongly in the first eight months of this year and lifted the euro zone's trade surplus, in a sign of hope for southern Europe.
* Canada stock futures traded down 0.16 percent
* U.S. stock futures , , were mixed in the range of -0.23 percent to 0.08 percent
* European shares, were down
* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 293.41; rose 0.28 percent
* Gold futures : $1,706.9; fell 0.37 percent
* US crude : $86.05; rose 0.7 percent
* Brent crude : $108.77; rose 0.7 percent
* LME 3-month copper : $7,596; fell 0.57 percent
* Talisman : The oil producer has drilled a dry well 17 kilometers southeast of the Varg field in the North Sea, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said.
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters.
* Copper Mountain Mining Corp. : BMO cuts target price to C$4 from C$4.50, CIBC cuts target to C$5 from C$5.20 after the company reported weaker-than-expected third-quarter results due to higher stripping and repair costs.
* Delphi Energy Corp. : Canaccord Genuity raises to speculative buy from sell on the company's implied return on its share price while CIBC cuts target to C$1.50 from C$1.75 on valuation.
* Labrador Iron Mines Holdings Ltd. : Canaccord Genuity cuts target to C$2.40 from C$4.50 citing the company's C$30 million bought deal financing and its poor second-quarter results.
* Migao Corp. : Canaccord Genuity cuts target to C$1.45 from C$1.95 on the company's significantly lower-than-expected second-quarter results.
* Vermilion Energy Inc. : CIBC raises target to C$51.50 from C$49 after the company raised its dividend by about 5 percent, said it would buy ZaZa Energy's French assets and gave its 2013 production guidance.
* Major Canadian economic data includes Canadian and foreign securities
* Major U.S. events and data includes net capital inflows, industry output and capacity utilization