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June 24 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index looked set to open sharply lower on Monday as markets were pulled down by worries surrounding China's banking sector and the U.S. Federal Reserve's suggestion that it could begin scaling back its monetary stimulus later this year.
* Fears of a credit crunch in China's banking system eased as short-term interest rates fell, and the central bank said there were sufficient funds in the market but banks needed to improve their cash management and control their lending.
* Vodafone has agreed to buy Germany's largest cable operator Kabel Deutschland for 7.7 billion euros, betting on TV and fixed-line services in its biggest deal since 2007.
* U.S. hospital operator Tenet Healthcare Corp will buy smaller rival Vanguard Health Systems Inc for $4.3 billion including debt to expand into new geographies.
* Barrick Gold Corp will lay off up to a third of its corporate staff at its headquarters in Toronto and other offices, sources said, as the world's top bullion producer intensifies a downsizing plan amid a slump in the price of gold.
* China's Sinopec Group has agreed to buy Marathon Oil Corp's Angolan offshore oil and gas field for $1.52 billion, Asia's largest refiner producer said.
* Canada stock futures traded down 0.72 percent
* U.S. stock futures , , were down around 0.82 percent to 0.97 percent
* European shares, were down
* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 278.3125; fell 0.1 percent
* Gold futures : $1,281.2; fell 0.81 percent
* US crude : $93.54; fell 0.16 percent
* Brent crude : $100.65; fell 0.26 percent
* LME 3-month copper : $6,675.65; fell 2.04 percent
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters.
* Halogen Software Inc : Canaccord Genuity starts with buy rating, believes the company is very well-positioned to benefit from an accelerating shift in the middle market towards Talent Management software tool adoption.
* New Flyer Industries Inc : CIBC raises target price to C$11 from C$10, says the company's acquisition of North American Bus Industries Inc from Cerberus Capital Management could prove favorable.
* No major Canadian economic data scheduled for release
* Major U.S. events and data includes Chicago Fed index and Dallas Fed manufacturing index