Sept 11 (Reuters) - Canadian stocks looked set to open slightly weaker on Wednesday, with a drop in the price of gold on hopes diplomacy will avert a U.S. military strike on Syria expected to weigh on shares of bullion producers.
* Britain’s unemployment rate dropped in July to its lowest since late last year, adding to speculation that the Bank of England may raise interest rates earlier than it has predicted.
* Syria accepted a Russian proposal on Tuesday to give up chemical weapons but U.S. President Barack Obama said it was too early to tell if the initiative would succeed and he vowed to keep military forces at the ready to strike if diplomacy fails.
* European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso declared that economic recovery was within sight after nearly four years of Europe’s debt crisis and urged governments to move faster to complete a stalled banking union.
* The Canadian and Ontario governments said on Tuesday they would sell nearly a quarter of their common shares in General Motors Corp, part of a longer-term plan to shed the stock they acquired in 2009 when they helped the U.S. government bail out the automaker.
* Canada stock futures were lower
* U.S. stock futures , , were mixed around -0.4 percent to 0.01 percent
* European shares, were down
* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 290.6439; was unchanged 0 percent
* Gold futures : $1,360.1; fell 0.29 percent
* US crude : $107.2; fell 0.18 percent
* Brent crude : $111.53; rose 0.25 percent
* LME 3-month copper : $7,195.25; rose 0.35 percent
* AGF Management Ltd : The company hopes to lure Canadian investors back to its mutual fund lineup with a new class of equity funds whose goal is simple: not to lose money.
* BlackBerry : The struggling smartphone maker cut several dozen jobs from its U.S. sales team on Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
* TransCanada Corp : As the State Department drags out the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, it is more likely President Barack Obama’s final decision on the project to help link Canada’s oil sands to U.S. refineries will slip into 2014, experts said.
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters.
* Aurora Oil & Gas Ltd : CIBC raises price target to C$4.75 from C$4.50 for the company’s large inventory of high-quality drilling locations and its solid funding position.
* Calfrac Well Services Ltd : CIBC raises price target to C$41 from C$40 following the company’s acquisition of Mission Well Services, a private Texas-based fracturing company.
* Canexus Corp : CIBC cuts price target to C$10 from C$11, expects the company’s chlorate business to continue generating stable cash flow.
* Major Drilling Group International Inc : CIBC cuts price target to C$8.50 from C$9 on the company’s lower-than-expected first-quarter results.
* No major Canadian economic data scheduled for the day
* Major U.S. events and data includes wholesale inventories and sales