May 22 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index looked set to open higher on Wednesday on hopes that the U.S. Federal Reserve will continue with its monetary easing policy, ahead of the release of minutes of its May meeting and testimony from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.
* Two senior Federal Reserve officials on Tuesday played down the chances that the U.S. central bank would signal a readiness to reduce its bond buying at its meeting next month, dampening speculation the Fed’s ultra-easy monetary policy might end soon.
* Growing concern in European capitals about aggressive tax avoidance by high-profile corporations such as Amazon, Google and Apple looks set to steal the agenda of a European Union summit in Brussels.
* Sears Canada Inc posted a loss in the first quarter compared with a profit last year, and named E.J. Bird as chief financial officer.
* Lowe’s Cos Inc reported a weaker-than-expected quarterly profit, hurt by colder-than-usual weather at the start of the spring selling season and strong competition from larger rival Home Depot Inc.
* Staples Inc reported a slightly lower-than-expected quarterly profit, hurt by a stronger dollar and weak sales in Europe and Australia.
* Canada stock futures traded up 0.36 percent
* U.S. stock futures , , were up around 0.12 percent to 0.23 percent
* European shares, were down
* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 288.6225; rose 0.06 percent
* Gold futures : $1,387.2; rose 0.68 percent
* US crude : $96.07; fell 0.11 percent
* Brent crude : $103.62; fell 0.28 percent
* LME 3-month copper : $7,519.25; rose 2.03 percent
* Afferro. The West Africa-focused miner has agreed to a $190 million cash-and-paper offer from investment group IMIC which could pave the way for its flagship iron ore project to be developed.
* Bank of Nova Scotia : CEO Rick Waugh said on Tuesday that Chinese authorities are reevaluating whether they want to go ahead with a deal to sell 20 percent of Bank of Guangzhou to the Canadian bank.
* Talisman Energy : The company expects to remove the faulty platform at its Yme oilfield in the North Sea next year and to install a new one by the first half of 2015, it said in the first timeline provided since the troubled project was suspended last year.
* TransCanada Corp : The White House has threatened to veto legislation pending in the U.S House of Representatives that could strip from President Barack Obama the authority to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters.
* Advantage Oil and Gas Ltd : RBC raises target price to C$5 from C$4, says with limited available funding and an ongoing strategic review, the company will likely look to transact with a better-capitalized international player to bring forward value.
* Enerflex Ltd : Raymond James cuts rating to market perform from outperform following the company’s worse-than-expected performance in the first quarter.
* Loblaw Cos Ltd : RBC raises target price to C$44 from C$39, says the increase reflects the combination of market-related moves and Loblaw-specific progress.
* Major Canadian economic data includes retail sales
* Major U.S. events and data includes existing homes sales and FOMC minutes