CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open higher after Fed says will start taper

Reuters

Dec 19 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index was poised to open little changed to slightly higher on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve said it would modestly trim its stimulus program and reaffirmed its commitment to keeping interest rates low.

TOP STORIES

* The Federal Reserve on Wednesday embarked on the risky task of winding down the era of easy money, saying the U.S. economy was finally strong enough for it to start scaling down its massive bond-buying stimulus.

* Retailers in Europe are predicting their best Christmas since the financial crisis, though optimism is laced with caution in the face of rising e-commerce and early discounting in a fragile economic recovery.

* The European Union agreed a blueprint to close failing banks but stopped short of a more ambitious plan for the euro zone to unite in tackling its troubled lenders.

* Accenture Plc reported a 2 percent rise in quarterly revenue as demand for outsourcing services helped to offset a drop in income from its bigger consulting business.

* Oracle Corp's better-than-expected results and quarterly revenue outlook spurred cautious hope on Wednesday that the software maker is on track to revive growth curtailed this year by slow IT spending.

* AstraZeneca has agreed to buy Bristol-Myers Squibb's stake in a diabetes joint venture for up to $4.1 billion in a deal that will help return the group to growth, sending its shares to a new high.MARKET SNAPSHOT

* Canada stock futures traded up 0.16 percent

* U.S. stock futures , , were down around 0.27 percent to 0.02 percent

* European shares, were up COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 280.8338; rose 0.02 percent

* Gold futures : $1,206.4; fell 2.4 percent

* US crude : $97.83; rose 0.03 percent

* Brent crude : $110.23; rose 0.55 percent

* LME 3-month copper : $7,220.25; fell 0.68 percent ANALYSTS' RECOMMENDATIONS

Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters.

* Eagle Energy Trust : CIBC cuts price target to C$9 from C$9.50, driven by a negative outlook after the company cut its capex estimates

* IMAX Corp : Roth resumes with buy rating, believe the company's strong backlog and ongoing expansion of its film portfolio will continue to increase visibility, driving long-term shareholder value ON THE CALENDAR

* No major Canadian economic data scheduled for the day

* Major U.S. events and data includes initial, continuing claims and existing home sales

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