Dec 10 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index looked set to open higher on Monday, supported by a rise in Nexen Inc and Progress Energy Resources Corp after the Canadian government approved takeover bids for the energy companies.
An increase in commodity prices after a rise in factory output in China also boosted investor sentiment.
* Canada approved China's biggest foreign takeover, the $15.1 billion bid by CNOOC Ltd for energy company Nexen Inc , but drew a line in the sand against future acquisitions by foreign state-owned enterprises.
* China's exports growth slowed sharply to a much lower than expected 2.9 percent in November, a customs report said, underscoring the global headwinds dragging on an economy showing otherwise solid signs of a pick up in domestic activity.
* Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti announced on Saturday that he would resign once the 2013 budget is approved, potentially bringing forward an election due early next year and fuelling speculation that he might run.
* Bank of America Merrill Lynch is emerging as one of the biggest buyers of loans from deleveraging European banks, which have been selling loan portfolios to raise capital and comply with stress tests, tidy up their balance sheets and refocus on their client base.
* American International Group Inc is to sell nearly all of ILFC, the world's second-largest airplane leasing business, to a Chinese consortium for up to $4.8 billion, giving the fastest growing aviation market easier and cheaper access to planes.
* Canada stock futures traded up 0.07 percent
* U.S. stock futures , , were down around 0.15 percent to 0.23 percent
* European shares, were down
COMMODITY PRICE MOVES
* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 295.7471; rose 0.21 percent
* Gold futures : $1,713; rose 0.53 percent
* US crude : $86.67; rose 0.86 percent
* Brent crude : $108.26; rose 1.16 percent
* LME 3-month copper : $8,140; rose 1.31 percent
CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH
* High River Gold : Russia's Nord Gold will increase its ownership of Toronto-listed subsidiary High River Gold to 97.9 percent under a share offer that could boost its free float and take it a step further to a premium London listing.
* Precision Drilling Corp. : The oil and gas drilling contractor expects capital expenditure to almost halve in 2013 as weak natural gas prices slow drilling activity. The company forecast capital expenditure of C$485 million for 2013.
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters.
* Bank of Nova Scotia : Canaccord Genuity raises target price to C$62 from C$61 after the bank reported fourth-quarter cash earnings above estimates.
* First Quantum Minerals Ltd. : Canaccord Genuity cuts target price to C$19 from C$21 after the company reported lower-than-expected reserves in its Kansanshi and Enterprise mines.
* Veresen Inc. : Canaccord Genuity cuts target price to C$13.50 from C$15 to reflect continued pressure on natural gas liquids margins in 2013 outlook.
ON THE CALENDAR
* Major Canadian economic data includes housing starts
* Major U.S. events and data includes Employment index