TORONTO, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index could open little changed on Monday, helped by firmer oil prices and record high gold, even as lower equity futures suggested investors remain concerned about the economic outlook.
* Canadian equity futures <0#SXF:> pointed to a lower open.
* U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Monday following four weeks of gains for Wall Street as investors eyed a series of merger-and-acquisition deals, a sign that companies are seeing value in the market. [.N]
* European shares gained on Monday, with Unilever lifting the food and beverage sector higher after the consumer goods giant said it is to acquire a U.S. hair care company for $3.7 billion. [.EU]
* Markets in Asia were up with Hong Kong stocks closing at their highest level in more than eight months amid growing investor appetite for Asian equities, with local property developers continuing their strong run.
* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities benchmark, rose 0.38 percent in early trade.
* Oil hovered below $77 a barrel on Monday, as the outlook for global economic recovery and future energy demand remained uncertain. [O/R]
* Gold powered to a record high at $1,300 an ounce on Monday, with investors pouring more cash into the market on global economic health worries and the possibility of further quantitative easing to stimulate growth. [GOL/]
- Barrick Gold (ABX.TO), the world's number one miner of the precious metal, said on Monday gold prices could "easily" outperform recent record highs to rise above $1,500 an ounce in the next year. [ID:nLDE68Q0ZY]
* Copper dipped on Monday, heading away from the psychological $8,000 a tonne mark, with a recovery in the dollar and limited Asian buying deterring investors, many of whom see prospects for further price rises. [MET/L]
* Potash Corp. (POT.TO): China's Sinochem Corp is in early talks with banks to finance its likely bid for all or part of the fertilizer a newspaper reported on Saturday, in a sign that China is serious about derailing BHP Billiton Ltd's $39 billion hostile bid. [ID:nTOE68O006]
* Research In Motion RIM.TO: The United Arab Emirates is "very optimistic" about reaching an agreement in a dispute with the BlackBerry maker before an official deadline, a top Abu Dhabi official said on Sunday. [ID:nLDE68P025]
* Nexen Inc. NXY.TO: The independent oil explorer said on Friday it will hook up a new platform at its Buzzard oil field in the North Sea earlier than planned, forcing a cut of up to 30 percent in fourth-quarter production at the major project while the work is being done. [ID:nN24250053]
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters. [RCH/CA]
* CAE Inc. (CAE.TO) rating raised to outperform from market perform at Raymond James
* Canfor Pulp Income Fund CFX_u.TO rating cut to sector perform from outperform at RBC
* Pure Energy Services PSV.TO price target raised to C$4.25 from C$4; rating outperform at Raymond James
$1=$1.02 Canadian Reporting by Bangalore newsroom and Jennifer Kwan; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson