Oct 3 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index looked set for a lower open on Thursday as the United States entered a third day of a partial government shutdown, with no end in sight.
* The U.S. government shutdown is beginning to hit the factory floor, with major manufacturers like Boeing and United Technologies warning of delays and employee furloughs in the thousands if the budget impasse persists.
* The nascent recovery in euro zone businesses strengthened in September as order books filled at a faster rate and layoffs slowed to a trickle, surveys showed, pointing to very mild growth in the third quarter.
* Activity in China's services sector expanded at the fastest pace in six months in September as demand grew, cementing a modest pickup in the world's second-largest economy.
* Britain's service sector posted solid growth in September, rounding off its strongest quarter in more than 16 years, helped by a recovery in the country's housing market, a survey showed. [ID: nL9N0GZ005]
* BP Plc won a legal reprieve in its effort to force the administrator of a settlement related to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill to tighten standards in assessing claims, potentially sparing the oil company billions of dollars of extra costs.
* Canada stock futures traded down 0.18 percent
* U.S. stock futures , , were down around 0.25 percent to 0.17 percent
* European shares, were down
COMMODITY PRICE MOVES
* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 286.9252; fell 0.03 percent
* Gold futures : $1,305.4; fell 1.15 percent
* US crude : $103.88; fell 0.21 percent
* Brent crude : $109.59; rose 0.37 percent
* LME 3-month copper : $7,245.35; fell 0.46 percent
CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH
* Agrium Inc : The fertilizer company said Chief Operating Officer Chuck Magro would take over as CEO from Mike Wilson, who retires on Dec. 31. Magro will join Agrium's board immediately, the company said.
* TransCanada Corp : The company expects testing on its Keystone XL crude pipeline to be completed in early November and it will begin filling the line for the first time shortly afterwards, a spokesman said on Wednesday.
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters.
* Aurico Gold Inc : Raymond James raises the rating of its U.S. listed shares to outperform from market perform, says continued de-risking, coupled with a growing valuation divide, presents opportunity.
* Perpetual Energy Inc : National Bank Financial raises rating to outperform from sector perform, says the company is relatively well positioned heading in to the winter, supported by solid catalysts, improving fundamentals and tailwinds from broader corporate themes.
* Vermilion Energy Inc : CIBC raises target price to C$65 from C$64 after it announced the acquisition of Northern Petroleum's Netherlands operating subsidiary.
* Westport Innovations Inc : RBC cuts target price to $27 from $28 on higher R&D and Capex assumptions.
ON THE CALENDAR
* No major Canadian economic data scheduled for the day
* Major U.S. events and data includes initial claims, ISM and factory orders data