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Aug 20 (Reuters) - Canadian stock futures pointed to a slightly higher open, with investors awaiting more clues from the central banks, especially on the shape of a European Central Bank bond-buying program.
* The European Central Bank sought to quash speculation about the shape of its planned bond-buying program, after Germany's Der Spiegel said the ECB was considering buying euro zone country bonds if their interest rate exceeded a certain premium over German bonds. The ECB said it was misleading to talk about decisions that had not yet been taken.
* A quarter of the workforce returned to South Africa's Marikana platinum mine where 44 men were killed last week in clashes that evoked memories of apartheid-era violence.
* Gold-focused royalty company Franco-Nevada Corp said it will provide $1 billion to Inmet Mining Corp for the development of its Cobre Panama copper-gold project in Panama.
* A Greek exit from the euro zone would be manageable, European Central Bank policymaker Joerg Asmussen was quoted as saying, although he would prefer it if Greece remained within the single currency bloc.
* Insurer Aetna Inc said it will buy rival Coventry Health Care Inc for $5.6 billion in cash and stock to boost its share of government business and benefit from U.S. healthcare reforms.
* Canada stock futures traded up 0.15 percent
* U.S. stock futures , , were mixed in the range of -0.14 percent to 0.01 percent
* European shares, were up
* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 303.45; fell 0.01 percent
* Gold futures : $1,614.5; fell 0.11 percent
* US crude : $96.06; rose 0.05 percent
* Brent crude : $114.3; rose 0.52 percent
* LME 3-month copper : $7,415; fell 1.64 percent
* Nexen Inc. : Japan Petroleum Exploration will make a final investment decision on its Hangingstone oil sands expansion project in Canada by the end of this year, delayed from a previous mid-year target, the company said. A Japex subsidiary owns a 75 percent stake in the project, while Nexen has the rest.
* Silvercorp Metals Inc. : New York state Supreme Court Justice Carol Edmead dismissed a defamation complaint against investors who raised questions of potential accounting fraud and misstatements of assets, brought by the China-focused mining company against New York-based hedge fund Anthion Management, court documents showed on Friday.
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters.
* Allied Properties Real Estate Investment Trust : National Bank Financial resumes coverage with sector perform and price target of C$32.25, says it expects Allied to continue to trade at a premium valuation as a result of continued FFO momentum, a declining payout ratio, significant value creation opportunities within the portfolio and an industry-leading management team. * Royal Host Inc. : RBC cuts price target to $1.50 from $2 to reflect the high financial leverage inherent in company's capital structure, depressed earnings, and the fact that hotel income and values remain difficult to peg in the current environment. * Western Potash Corp. : Raymond James cuts price target to C$0.75 from C$1.25 to reflect increased risk associated with the company's constrained balance sheet due to a cash outflow of C$6.5 million during second quarter
* No major Canadian economic data scheduled for release
* Major U.S. events and data includes Chicago Fed Index