Oct 25 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index was set to open lower on Friday as expectations of continued U.S. monetary stimulus was eclipsed by worries that tighter cash markets in China could put the brakes on the world's second-largest economy.
* Microsoft Corp cruised past Wall Street's quarterly profit and revenue forecasts on Thursday, helped by strong sales of its Office and server software to businesses, sending its shares up more than 5 percent after hours.
* Sinopec Group, the parent of top Asian refiner Sinopec Corp, wants to sell half of its two biggest shale gas acreages in Canada to spread costs and accelerate their development, as the Chinese energy company focuses increasingly on return of investment, an executive said.
* German business morale dropped for the first time in six months in October, underscoring the fragility of a recovery in Europe's largest economy that is widely expected to pick up momentum next year.
* Samsung Electronics Co Ltd's quarterly operating profit surged 26 percent to a new record, matching estimates and powered by a strong recovery in its memory chip business as smartphone sales growth eases sharply.
* Canada stock futures traded down 0.12 percent
* U.S. stock futures , , were mixed around -0.03 percent to 0.24 percent
* European shares, were up
COMMODITY PRICE MOVES
* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 281.8781; fell 0.12 percent
* Gold futures : $1350.2; was unchanged 0 percent
* US crude : $97.18; rose 0.07 percent
* Brent crude : $106.75; fell 0.22 percent
* LME 3-month copper : $7125; fell 0.7 percent
CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH
* Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd : Billionaire investor William Ackman announced on Thursday said he sold 6 million shares in the company after a huge run-up in the stock, adding a large pile of cash to his $11 billion hedge fund.
* Maple Leaf Foods Inc : The food processor has launched an auction for its bakery company Canada Bread , targeting Grupo Bimbo, one of the world's largest bread makers, as well as private equity, several people familiar with the matter said.
* Saputo Inc : The dairy producer, looked likely to triumph in the battle for Australia's Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Company Holdings Ltd after hiking its bid by 14 percent to A$449 million. [ID: nL1N0IE2C7] ANALYSTS' RECOMMENDATIONS
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters.
* Goldcorp Inc : RBC cuts target price of its U.S. listed shares to $36 from $37, says company continues to experience capital and operating cost risk at Cerro Negro
* Mullen Group Ltd : CIBC raises rating to sector performer from sector underperformer; raises price target to C$27 from C$23 to account for the revenue opportunities for the company and its ability to continue to execute even through a challenging operating environment
* Potash Corp : Canaccord Genuity cuts price target of its U.S. listed shares to $28 from $29 after the company lowered its forecast for 2013 potash sales volumes ON THE CALENDAR
* No major Canadian economic data scheduled for the day
* Major U.S. events and data includes durable goods, UMich conditions and wholesale inventories