Dec 6 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index looked set to open slightly lower on Monday after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke offered a more sobering view of the economy of Canada’s largest trading partner.
FACTORS TO WATCH
* Canadian equity futures <0#SXF:> pointed to a lower open.
* U.S. stock index futures fell after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke offered a more sobering view of the economy and investors were set to lock in profits after a strong performance last week. [.N]
* European shares were flat at midday with optimism that the U.S. Federal Reserve may pump more funds into the economy offset by uncertainty over the result of a meeting of euro zone finance ministers [.EU]
* Markets in Asia were largely low as poor U.S. jobs data released on Friday dented confidence of economic recovery.
COMMODITY PRICE MOVES
* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities benchmark, was nearly unchanged in early trade.
* Oil eased from a 26-month high near $90 as the dollar strengthened, countering support from talk of higher demand caused by cold weather in Europe and parts of the United States. [O/R]
* Gold held near its highest since mid-November as speculation U.S. authorities will have to further extend monetary easing and concerns over euro zone debt boosted interest in the metal as a haven from risk. [GOL/]
* Copper steadied, with economic sentiment supported by the U.S. Federal Reserve chairman saying more quantitative easing was possible, but a weak euro and worries about debt problems in Europe kept optimism in check. [MET/L]
CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH
* Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. (FFH.TO): The company, which deals in property and casualty insurance and reinsurance, said it agreed to acquire Malaysian insurer The Pacific Insurance Berhad for about $64 million. [ID:nSGE6B20BU]
* Research in Motion RIM.TO: The Indian government is talking to companies which are using the BlackBerry makers’ phone, to gain access to their employees’ secure communications when it is deemed necessary, an official told the WSJ. [ID:nSGE6B401G]
* NorthWest Healthcare Properties Real Estate Investment Trust NWH_u.TO: The trust, which owns medical office buildings and healthcare real estate, said on Friday it agreed to buy Dundas-Edward Centre, a complex housing medical, professional and government tenancies, in Toronto, for C$103 million, to expand its asset portfolio. [ID:nSGE6B20BV]
* Intermap Technologies Corp. (IMP.TO): The digital mapping company said on Monday it appointed Todd Oseth as its CEO, effective Monday. [ID:nSGE6B508X]
* Crowflight Minerals Inc. CML.TO: The junior nickel miner said its CEO Mark Trevisiol resigned, and the company named Kevin Zhu as its interim CEO. [ID:nASA0173K]
* ProspEx Resources Ltd. PSX.TO: The junior oil and gas company said it agreed to sell certain undeveloped mineral rights in Alberta to a private company for C$8.1 million in cash, to focus on development of its liquids rich natural gas assets and add to its 2011 capital program. [ID:nSGE6B508F]
* Canlan Ice Sports Corp. ICE.TO: The recreational and entertainment facilities operator said its board approved the introduction of a quarterly dividend and set a dividend at C$0.015 cents per common share and said it would be paid on January 17, to shareholders of record Dec. 15. [ID:nSGE6B50A7]
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters. [RCH/CA]
* Canadian Oil Sands Trust COS_u.TO rating cut to market perform from outperform at Raymond James
* Killam Properties KMP.TO price target raised to C$11.20 from C$11; rating outperform at Raymond James
* RBC (RY.TO) rating cut to market perform from outperform at KBW
($1= $1.01 Canadian) (Reporting by Kishan Nair and Bangalore Newsroom; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)