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Aug 23 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index could open higher on Monday, led by mining stocks, on optimism that Australia's inconclusive weekend elections could spell the end to a controversial tax.
* Canadian equity futures <0#SXF:> pointed to a higher open.
* U.S. stock index futures rose on Monday, following two weeks of losses for the S&P and Dow, as sentiment was lifted by several potential mergers and deals. [.N]
* European shares rose with miners and financials among the gainers.
* Asian stocks steadied, underpinned by a rally in Southeast Asian stocks that drove Jakarta to a record peak as foreign investors keep chasing its surprisingly strong growth momentum.
* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities benchmark, rose 0.30 percent in early trade.
* Oil rebounded to top $74 a barrel on Monday on a weaker dollar, but prices stayed close to last week's six-week lows on bulging U.S. inventories and a lack of hurricane activity in the Gulf of Mexico. [O/R]
* Gold prices held steady near $1,230 an ounce in Europe on Monday as uncertainty over the outlook for the global economy continued to support investment in the precious metal as a safe store of value. [GOL/]
* Copper held firm on Monday but was seen undermined by a stronger dollar and doubts about the strength of demand in top consumers China and the United States. [MET/L]
* Potash Corp (POT.TO): Potash Corp's board urged shareholders to reject BHP Billiton's (BHP.AX) (BLT.L) hostile $39 billion offer and said it was in talks with a number of potential suitors for a superior deal. [ID:nSGE67M0GB] [ID:nSGE67M0AC]
-- The world's largest producer of potash has been contacted by China's Sinochem Group and Brazil's Vale (VALE5.SA) as the Canadian firm battles a hostile takeover offer from BHP Billiton, Bloomberg reported. [ID:nSGE67M0GB]
-- BHP Billiton's entry into the potash industry through a bid for market leader Potash Corp could shake up a cozy system of pricing and production if, as some expect, the newcomer shuns existing arrangements and runs plants at full capacity. [ID:nN20151979]
* First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO): Kazakh mining group ENRC ENRC.L has agreed to pay $175 million for a majority stake in a company that has licenses for copper assets in Congo, including a permit revoked from Canada's First Quantum Minerals. [ID:nLDE67J1C1]
* Shaw Communications Inc (SJRb.TO) (SJR.N): The Canadian cable and telecom company said the Shaw family and entities owned or controlled by them bought an additional 1 million class B non-voting shares of the company. [ID:nSGE67J0JP]
* Khan Resources Inc KRI.TO: Khan Resources has sued Russia's state-owned uranium miner ARMZ in the Ontario Superior Court seeking C$300 million in damages for alleged unlawful interference in the Canadian explorer's Mongolian operations. [ID:nSGE67J0JD]
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters. [RCH/CA]
Note: All values in ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS in Canadian currency, unless otherwise stated.
* Research In Motion RIMM.O RIM.TO target price cut to US$67 from US$85; rating buy at Wunderlich Securities
Reporting by Bangalore newsroom, editing by Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay and Frank McGurty