Jan 16 (Reuters) - After hitting a 2-1/2 year high in the previous session, Canada’s main stock index looked set to open flat to slightly lower on Thursday as investors paused ahead of a slew of U.S. economic data and corporate earnings.
* Euro zone inflation slowed in December, the European Union’s statistics office confirmed, with the European Central Bank citing a one-time change in the method of calculating price growth in Germany.
* Goldman Sachs Group Inc reported a 21 percent drop in quarterly profit as revenue from fixed-income trading fell.
* BlackRock Inc, the world’s largest money manager, said fourth-quarter profit rose 24 percent on growth in markets, long-term net inflows and strong performance fees.
* Sears Canada Inc plans to cut more than 1,600 jobs, or more than 7 percent of it workforce, this year as it reorganizes and outsources some businesses, the struggling department store operator said on Wednesday.
* Rio Tinto posted big increases in the production of iron ore and other minerals in 2013, betting China’s massive economic growth will provide a ready market for decades to come.
* Canada stock futures traded down 0.13 percent
* U.S. stock futures , , traded mixed
* European shares, were down
* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 279.1236; rose 0.24 percent
* Gold futures : $1,238.7; rose 0.25 percent
* US crude : $94.24; rose 0.07 percent
* Brent crude : $106.9; fell 0.21 percent
* LME 3-month copper : $7,313.75; fell 0.53 percent
* Bombardier Inc : Saudi Gulf Airlines, a new carrier born from the deregulation of Saudi Arabia’s aviation market, signed a $2 billion deal to buy 16 CSeries jets with options for 10 more, the airline’s owner said.
* Element Financial Corp : Investors looking at the equipment financing company and its 175-percent stock surge in just over two years may think they have missed the boat, but Chief Executive Officer Steven Hudson insists the upstart company has plenty of upside.
* TransAlta Corp : Australia’s Duet Group and the company announced a joint venture to build a 270-kilometer pipeline in western Australia to deliver gas for Fortescue Metals Group Ltd’s mining operations.
* Saputo Inc : Bega agreed to sell its 18.8 percent stake in takeover target Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Holdings Co to Saputo.
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters.
* Bonavista Energy Corp : Barclays raises target price to C$15 from C$13 on its strong asset base, management team and good track record.
* Baytex Energy Corp : Barclays raises to “overweight” from “equal weight,” citing visible long-term growth, high-quality management and strong balance sheet.
* Paramount Resources Ltd : Barclays raises target price to C$45 from C$42, saying key infrastructure projects make company a compelling growth story.
* Major Canadian economic data includes foreign and Canadian securities
* Major U.S. events and data includes inflation, real earnings, initial claims, net capital flows and Philly Fed business activity