December 20, 2012 / 1:58 PM / 5 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX set to open higher; investors eye Republican 'Plan B'

Dec 20 (Reuters) - Toronto stock index futures pointed to a slightly higher open on Thursday, but gains could be limited by uncertainty over U.S. budget talks, with Republicans set to introduce their 'Plan B'.

TOP STORIES

* The conflict over the stalled "fiscal cliff" talks grew more heated Wednesday and threatened to become even more when the action is expected to shift for the first time to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

* IntercontinentalExchange is in talks to buy New York Stock Exchange owner NYSE Euronext, in a multi-billion dollar deal designed to push it into the big league of European derivatives and take on arch rival CME Group.

* The telecom network equipment maker will take an 8 billion crown charge on its ST-Ericsson venture, underscoring the uncertainty over the loss-making project after partner STMicro said it was pulling out.

* European Union regulators dropped an antitrust investigation into Thomson Reuters on Thursday after the company made it easier for customers using its financial instrument codes to switch to competing services.

* Canada's Neptune Technologies & Bioressources Inc rejected claims it misled investors about the benefits of an expansion at its plant, which was subsequently destroyed by fire in November.

MARKET SNAPSHOT

* Canada stock futures traded up 0.07 percent

* U.S. stock futures , , were mixed around -0.02 percent and 0.06 percent

* European shares, were up

COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 295.7174; fell 0.12 percent

* Gold futures : $1,671; rose 0.27 percent

* US crude : $90.04; rose 0.07 percent

* Brent crude : $110.31; fell 0.05 percent

* LME 3-month copper : $7,820; fell 1.34 percent

CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Canadian Pacific Railway : The company said on Wednesday that a government arbitrator has issued his decision on a new labor deal with the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, which represents some 5,000 engineers, conductors and traffic controllers.

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters.

* Belo Sun Mining : CIBC raises price target to C$2.75 from C$2.50 after the company released an updated resource estimate for the Volta Grande project that includes an increase in both, total ounces and grade.

* Canexus Corp. : CIBC raises price target to C$10 from C$9 following the company's equity offering and the company's agreement with MEG for pipeline transloading at Bruderheim.

* Eacom Timber : Canaccord Genuity raises price target to C$0.40 from C$0.30, says the company stands to benefit from higher lumber prices and increased demand.

* Genivar Inc. : RBC cuts price target to C$22 from C$24 to reflect slower 2013 organic growth on account of flattish market.

* Stantec Inc. : RBC raises to outperform from sector perform and raises price target to C$47 from C$42, says the company is most defensive in terms of earnings predictability citing healthy business fundamentals.

ON THE CALENDAR

* Major Canadian economic data includes retail sales

* Major U.S. events and data includes real GDP, final sales, personal consumption expenditure, initial claims, corporate profits, lead indicators and existing home sales

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