Aug 30 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index looked set to open softer on Monday, as concerns about the sustainability of the global economic recovery persisted even as closely watching U.S. data showed personal spending rose more than expected.
* Canadian equity futures <0#SXF:> pointed to a slightly lower open.
* U.S. stock index futures edged into positive territory on Monday after data showed U.S. consumer spending rose at the strongest pace in four months in July. [.N]
* European shares turned negative in thin trading, with London closed, as concerns about economic recovery persisted.
* Asian markets rose with the Nikkei ending up 1.8 percent after rising more than 3 percent before the Bank of Japan announcement, while Japanese government bonds pulled back sharply from their intraday lows. [nTOE67T01I]
* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities benchmark, rose 0.1 percent in early trade.
* Oil dipped below $75 on Monday, chipping away at three days of gains as the bullish impact of a speech from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke began to drain away. [O/R]
* Gold firmed in a tight range on Monday, starting its fifth straight week in positive territory, with dealers looking to key U.S. jobs reports for clarity on its economic health. [GOL/]
* Shanghai copper touched a four-month high on Monday, buoyed by gains in London in the previous session after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke soothed jangled nerves with a promise to act as needed to keep the economic recovery from stalling. [MET/L]
* Agrium Inc AGU.TO: Agrium said it would be interested in Potash Corp’s POT.TO nitrogen and phosphates business, worth an estimated $12 billion, if miner BHP Billiton BHP.AX secures its $39 billion Potash takeover and decides to sell the assets. [ID:nSGE67S02X]
-- BHP Billiton on Sunday played down any chance of raising its $39 billion bid for fertiliser maker Potash Corp, saying it had timed its move to catch out weakened rival bidders. [ID:nSGE67S020]
* Research In Motion RIM.TO RIMM.O: Indian officials began a meeting on Monday to decide whether to ban some of Research In Motion’s BlackBerry services, a day before the deadline runs out for the firm to give security agencies access to its secure data. [ID:nSGE67T0I0]
-- RIM, its global growth and its secure-email niche challenged by both rivals and governments, is preparing for a long fight it may yet lose on a shifting battlefield. [ID:nN27271835]
* Gran Tierra Energy GTE.TO: The company, which is focused on oil and gas exploration in South America, said it will pay $22.6 million to Brazil’s Alvorada Petroleo, to get a majority working interest in the on-shore Reconcavo Basin. [ID:nSGE67T0FJ]
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters. [RCH/CA]
* Novus Energy NVS.V target price cut to C$1.15 from C$1.30; rating outperform at Raymond James
* Secure Energy Services Inc SES.TO rating started with outperform; price target of C$4.75 at Raymond James
* First Quantum Minerals Ltd FM.TO rating cut to neutral from outperform at Macquarie
* Iberian Minerals Corp. IZN.V rating cut to neutral from outperform at Macquarie
$1=$1.05 Canadian Reporting by Bangalore newsroom, editing by Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay and Jeffrey Hodgson