CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open higher on Fed taper decision

Reuters

Dec 20 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index looked set to open higher on Friday, after the U.S. Federal Reserve determined earlier in the week that the economy was strong enough for it to begin scaling back its market-friendly economic stimulus from January.

The Fed decision helped drive gains in the Canadian financial and energy sectors on Thursday.

TOP STORIES

* This year has been the biggest for equity fundraising globally since 2010, thanks to improving confidence among companies on the back of the strong investor demand for stocks, according to Thomson Reuters data published.

* Japan's central bank held its massive monetary expansion unchanged, and played down chances of the need for an extra dose next year as it took heart from the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision to begin tapering its own mega-stimulus.

* Nike Inc's quarterly profit rose as higher margin products made up a bigger share of its sales, and the sportswear maker said global orders for merchandise for delivery by April increased 13 percent.

* Smartphone maker BlackBerry Ltd reported a massive quarterly loss due to an inventory writedown and asset impairment charges.

* Jones Group Inc said on Thursday it had agreed to be bought by Sycamore Partners for $15 per share, or $1.2 billion, the latest purchase of a fashion company by the private equity firm.MARKET SNAPSHOT

* Canada stock futures traded up 0.44 percent

* U.S. stock futures , , were up around 0.06 percent to 0.11 percent

* European shares, were up COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 282.22; rose 0.09 percent

* Gold futures : $1,196.5; rose 0.13 percent

* US crude : $98.68; fell 0.36 percent

* Brent crude : $110.68; rose 0.35 percent

* LME 3-month copper : $7,244.25; rose 0.61 percent CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Enbridge Inc : Canadian regulators urged the government to approve the country's first overseas oil-export project on Thursday, concluding that Enbridge's C$7.9 billion Northern Gateway pipeline plan posed little risk to the environment if the company complied with some 200 conditions.

ANALYSTS' RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Martinrea International Inc : CIBC cuts price target to C$13.50 from C$15 following the company's announcement about operational issues at its Hopkinsville plant that is expected to drag EPS in the fourth quarter ON THE CALENDAR

* Major Canadian economic data includes consumer price index and retail sales

* Major U.S. events and data includes gross domestic product, final sales and corporate profit

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