Oct 15 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index looked set to open slightly lower on Friday as comments by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that he saw a case for further easing were offset by softer commodity prices.
* Canadian equity futures <0#SXF:> pointed to a slightly lower open.
* U.S. stock index futures briefly extended gains on Friday after data showed September retail sales were stronger than expected and consumer prices rose less than anticipated, while October manufacturing was stronger than forecast in New York. [.N]
* Most markets in Asia were down, while China’s key stock index ended up 3.2 percent, hitting a near six-month high and breaking through the key 250-day resistance on investor optimism over banks ahead of expectations of strong third-quarter profits
* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities benchmark, was down 0.26 percent in early trade.
* Gold prices rallied to session highs at $1,385.25 an ounce in Europe, just a few dollars below the previous session’s record high, as comments from Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke hurt the dollar. [GOL/]
* Copper prices rose after the head of the U.S. Federal Reserve said he saw the case for more monetary easing. [MET/L]
* Potash Corp (POT.TO): China’s Sinochem Corp will not launch a counterbid for Potash sources told Reuters on Friday, abandoning efforts to spoil BHP Billiton Plc’s $39 billion bid for the Canadian fertilizer maker. [ID:nSGE69E07X]
* HudBay Minerals Inc. (HBM.TO): The company reported on Friday increased mineral resource at its Back Forty project in Michigan and said the property has about 1 million ounces of contained gold and 3.2 million tons of inferred mineral resources. [ID:nSGE69E0FY]
* Dalsa Corp DSA.TO: The digital imaging solutions company said it plans to invest C$160 million in new research and development initiatives over the next five years, to expand into markets such as medical, defense and security imaging. [ID:nSGE69D0LM]
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters. [RCH/CA]
* Canadian National Railway (CNR.TO) rating cut to market perform from outperform at Raymond James
* Canadian Pacific Railway (CP.TO) rating cut to market perform from outperform at Raymond James
* Dollarama Inc (DOL.TO) rating cut to market perform from outperform at Raymond James
* Flint Energy Services FES.TO rating cut to sector perform from outperform at National Bank
* Gran Tierra Energy (GTE.TO) rating raised to buy from hold at Wunderlich
* Orleans Energy OEX.TO target price cut to C$2.50 from C$2.75; keeps market perform rating at Raymond James
$1= $1.00 Canadian Reporting by Bangalore Newsroom; editing by Jeffrey Hodgson