April 11 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index looked set to open lower on Thursday, as positive U.S and Chinese economic data was offset by a drop in the price of bullion to a one-week low and fears that the U.S. Federal Reserve might stop its bond buying program by year-end.
* The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, which could ease fears of a marked deterioration in labor market conditions after a surprise stumble in job growth in March.
* Chinese banks made 1.06 trillion yuan of new local currency loans in March, central bank data showed, well above market expectations and adding to evidence of an economic recovery being fueled by ample credit.
* Personal computer sales plunged 14 percent in the first three months of the year, the biggest decline in two decades of keeping records, as tablets continue to gain in popularity and buyers appear to be avoiding Microsoft Corp’s new Windows 8 system, according to a leading tech tracking firm.
* Media company Corus Entertainment Inc reported an 81 percent fall in second-quarter profit due mainly to lower television revenue.
* Yum Brands Inc, the biggest foreign fast-food chain operator in China, is in danger of breaking its 11-year streak of double-digit profit growth as it scrambles to deal with food scares and bird flu in its most lucrative market.
* Protective Life Corp agreed to buy a portfolio of old policies from French insurer AXA SA’s U.S. business for $1.1 billion, with the aim of squeezing more value out of them.
* Canada stock futures traded down 0.18 percent
* U.S. stock futures , , traded in the range of -0.23 percent and 0.05 percent
* European shares, were up
* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 291.4702; rose 0.06 percent
* Gold futures : $1,558; fell 0.02 percent
* US crude : $94.52; fell 0.13 percent
* Brent crude : $105.82; rose 0.03 percent
* LME 3-month copper : $7,538.25; fell 0.49 percent
* Hudson’s Bay Co : The department store operator reported a 6 percent lower fourth-quarter profit as superstorm Sandy hampered sales at its Lord & Taylor stores in the United States.
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters.
* Aura Minerals Inc : Canaccord Genuity cuts rating to hold from speculative buy on financing concerns and weak operational performance.
* Barrick Gold Corp : Canaccord Genuity cuts target to $31 from $40 after the company announced the suspension of construction activities on the Chilean side of the Pascua Lama project to address environmental and other regulatory requirements.
* Eldorado Gold Corp : Canaccord Genuity cuts target price to $12.75 from $17 following the company’s announcement that the damage to the Anglo Ferrous ship loading facility at Santana Port, Amapa, Brazil will prevent it from shipping iron ore in the near to medium term.
* SilverCrest Mines Inc : Raymond James starts with outperform fueled by the installation of a mill at the Santa Elena mine and the subsequent transition from an open-pit to underground mine which is expected to drive near-term production and cash flow growth.
* Santacruz Silver Mining Ltd : Raymond James starts with outperform, says development and exploration potential offered by the company’s high quality portfolio of properties including Rosario, San Felipe, Gavilanes, and El Gachi offers considerable upside.
* Major Canadian economic data includes new house price index
* Major U.S. events and data includes weekly jobless claims and import-export