Sept 24 (Reuters) - Toronto's resource-heavy index .GSPTSE could open higher on Friday with gold rallying to fresh record highs, while copper and aluminium swung to new five-month highs helped by downward U.S. dollar trend.
* Canadian equity futures <0#SXF:> pointed to a higher open.
* U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Friday, rebounding after the S&P 500 fell below a key technical level at 1,130, as investors awaited a batch of economic data for further clues on the state of the economy. [.N]
* European shares were down at midday on Friday, with drugs giant Merck (MRCG.DE) tumbling after European regulators rejected a key drug and banks and miners lower on economic growth worries. [.EU]
* Asian stocks were mixed with the Nikkei down 1 percent, failing to stay in positive territory as momentum gained from talk of fresh intervention by Japanese authorities to weaken the yen petered out when no confirmation emerged.
* RBC Global Asset's forecast: Toronto's main stock index will likely climb to 13,500 in the fourth quarter of 2011 as growth in emerging economies such as China and Brazil lead the global economic recovery, the chief economist of RBC Global Asset Management said. [ID:nN23265806]
* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities benchmark, rose 0.25 percent in early trade.
* Oil edged up on Friday, as investor fears about global economic recovery eased following the closely watched Ifo survey showing stronger-than-expected business sentiment in Germany, the euro zone's largest economy. [O/R]
* Gold rallied to record highs in Europe on Friday, with spot prices knocking on the door of $1,300 an ounce, as expectations grew that further quantitative easing could lead to volatility in the currency markets. [GOL/]
* Copper and aluminium swung to new five-month highs on Friday, with prospects of seasonally strong fourth-quarter demand and a downward dollar trend paving the way for further gains. [MET/L]
* Potash Corp (POT.TO): BHP Billiton cleared the first regulatory hurdle in its bid for Canada's Potash but the miner still has a long way to go to pass the deal with Canadian authorities and the target's shareholders. [ID:nN23243172]
* Alimentation Couche-Tard (ATDb.TO): Even though Casey's (CASY.O) investors rejected a slate of directors nominated by Alimentation Couche-Tard, the Montreal-based company is unlikely to abandon its five-month effort to swallow Casey's. [ID:nN24163472]
* Enbridge Inc ENF_u.TO: Enbridge expects to resume pumping oil through its downed U.S. Midwest pipeline early next week. [ID:nN23249662]
* Canadian Oil Sands Trust COS_u.TO: The biggest stakeholder in the Syncrude Canada Ltd joint venture, lowered its target for the project's production this year by almost 5 percent as work on an upgrader extends longer than expected.[ID:nN23257593]
* RioCan REIT (REI_u.TO): The real estate investment trust on Thursday said the value of its total assets is expected to increase by about 27 percent when it switches to new reporting standards. [ID:nSGE68M0L5]
* Sierra Wireless Inc (SW.TO): The Mobile modem maker said it would cut 6 percent of its total workforce as it reorganized its business after the integration of its machine-to-machine unit. [ID:nSGE68M0LE]
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters. [RCH/CA]
* Calfrac Well Services (CFW.TO) rating raised to outperform from market perform at Raymond James
* Cervus Equipment CVL.V rating cut to market perform from outperform at Raymond James
* North American Energy Partners Inc (NOA.TO) rating cut to market perform from outperform at Raymond James
* Rocky Mountain Dealerships RME.TO rating cut to market perform from outperform at Raymond James
* Student Transportation Inc (STB.TO) price target raised to C$6.25 from C$5.75; rating outperform at Raymond James
$1= $1.03 Canadian Reporting by Bangalore newsroom and Ka Yan Ng; editing by Jeffrey Hodgson