Aug 24 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index looked set to open lower on Wednesday after Moody’s downgraded Japan’s sovereign debt and concerns over the health of the global economy kept investors sensitive to risk.
* Canadian equity futures <0#SXF:> pointed to a lower open.
* U.S. stock index futures were lower following a sharp rally on Tuesday. [.N]
* European markets were slightly higher, helped by hopes that the United States would launch a new round of economic stimulus. But mixed corporate results and a poor macroeconomic outlook weighed on sentiment. [.EU]
* Markets in Asia were down, with the Nikkei falling 1 percent after Moody’s downgrade spurred some foreign investors to take profits, erasing intraday gains. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ To receive an early e-mail of Reuters Morning News Call - Canada — a preview of market moving news — Thomson Reuters subscribers can register at [CA/MNC] ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities benchmark, rose 0.04 percent in early trade.
* Oil was near $109 a barrel as supply disruptions balanced against demand worries, and caution stalled investors ahead of U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke’s speech at the end of the week. [O/R]
* Gold recovered after Tuesday’s steep correction, with investors wary of selling the metal ahead of news from this week’s central bank meeting in Jackson Hole and as a rebound in equities faded. [GOL/]
* Copper was steady within a tight range due to uncertainty over prospects for further monetary easing in the United States, while China’s demand prospects and a softer dollar lent support. [MET/L]
* Equitable Group ETC.TO: The mortgage lender said it has become aware of a suspected fraud related to loans of up to $14 million. [ID:nL4E7JN4CA]
* Afexa Life Sciences Inc. FXA.TO: The maker of the popular Cold-FX flu medicine, asked its shareholders to reject the unsolicited takeover by Paladin Labs Inc PLB.TO, saying the purchase price was inadequate. [ID:nL4E7JO0C3]
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters. [RCH/CA]
* Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) price target cut to C$65 from C$67, rating sector perform at National Bank; price target raised to C$65 from C$64, rating sector performer at CIBC
* Nevsun Resources (NSU.TO) price target raised to C$8.50 from C$7.50; rating sector performer at CIBC
* Rio Alto Mining (RIO.V) coverage started with sector outperformer rating and C$3.80 price target at CIBC ($1= $0.98 Canadian) (Reporting by Anil Kumar; editing by Janet Guttsman)