Dec 13 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index looked set to open lower on Thursday as wariness over the stalled U.S. budget negotiations overshadows the Federal Reserve’s announcement of a fresh stimulus program.
* Sharp differences remained on Wednesday between congressional Republicans and the White House in talks to avert the government going over the “fiscal cliff” of steep tax hikes and budget cuts, and negotiators warned the showdown could drag on past Christmas.
* The Federal Reserve on Wednesday took the unprecedented step of saying it would keep interest rates near zero until the jobless rate falls to 6.5 percent, well below its current level, and it promised to pump more money into the economy.
* Euro zone finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund have agreed to release 49.1 billion euros in aid to Greece by the end of March, with most of that sum flowing immediately, senior EU officials said.
* A U.S. federal agency is set to trial Research In Motion’s new BlackBerry 10 smartphone after recently ditching the brand in favor of Apple Inc’s iPhone, in a boost for the embattled Canadian company.
* Barclays Plc plans to cut as many as 2,000 jobs in its investment bank as part of a broad restructuring of the company, the WSJ reported, citing people familiar with the British bank’s plans.
* Sprint Nextel Corp is looking to buy Clearwire Corp stock it does not already own for $2.90 per share, it said in a regulatory filing.
* Canada stock futures traded down 0.18 percent
* U.S. stock futures , , were mixed around -0.1 percent to 0.08 percent
* European shares, were down
* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 294.0947; fell 0.52 percent
* Gold futures : $1,692.4; fell 1.41 percent
* US crude : $86.28; fell 0.56 percent
* Brent crude : $109.02; fell 0.44 percent
* LME 3-month copper : $8,036.75; fell 1.15 percent
* Thomson Reuters : The news and information company said it wanted to play a role administrating overhauled interbank lending rates after British regulators told the news and information company it was not part of a global probe into rate fixing.
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters:
* Bonterra Energy Corp. - CIBC raises target to C$49.50 from C$47 after the company announced its intention to acquire Spartan Oil Corp for about C$441 million and said the transaction will be accretive to its valuation.
* Foraco International SA - Canaccord Genuity raises to buy from hold on improved visibility and share price depreciation.
* Longview Oil Corp. - CIBC cuts target price to C$6.75 from C$7.75 after the company announced lower-than-expected full-year estimates.
* Research In Motion - Jefferies raises price target to $13 from $10, says the company had a decent November quarter and is seeing better developer support for the new BlackBerry 10.
* TransGlobe Energy Corp. - CIBC raises to sector outperformer from sector performer on the recent decline in the company’s share price and its momentum going forward into 2013.
* Major Canadian economic data includes new housing PI and capacity utilization.
* Major U.S. events and data includes initial claims, continuing claims, producer prices index, retail sales and business inventories.