CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open lower ahead of Fed policy meeting

Tue Dec 17, 2013 9:02am EST

Dec 17 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index looked set to open lower on Tuesday ahead of a closely watched two-day U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting where the central bank could announce it will begin to wind down its $85 billion per month bond-buying program. TOP STORIES

* Euro zone inflation picked up in November because of a rise in electricity and accommodation prices, data showed, but wage growth continued to decelerate in the third quarter to the slowest pace in three years.

* KKR & Co LP said it would acquire its specialty finance company KKR Financial Holdings LLC in a $2.6 billion deal that will boost the private equity firm's dividends.

* Saputo Inc stepped up its bid for Australia's Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Holdings Co, aiming to knock out its rivals with a final sweetened offer after receiving a regulatory rap on the knuckles.

* General Motors Co plans to slash its headcount in South Korea next year as it prepares to withdraw its Chevy brand in Europe, a major export market for South Korean-made cars.MARKET SNAPSHOT

* Canada stock futures traded down 0.05 percent

* U.S. stock futures , , were up around 0.02 percent to 0.11 percent

* European shares, were down COMMODITY PRICE MOVES

* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 279.9647; fell 0.4 percent

* Gold futures : $1,236; fell 0.76 percent

* US crude : $97.12; fell 0.37 percent

* Brent crude : $108.64; fell 0.7 percent

* LME 3-month copper : $7,264.5; fell 0.35 percent CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH

* Athabasca Oil Corp : The oil producer said it planned to spend 42 percent less in 2014 to develop its assets, as it awaits government approval for its Dover project. ANALYSTS' RECOMMENDATIONS

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

* Franco-Nevada Corp : CIBC raises target price to C$51 from C$49, says the company's acquisition of Teranga Gold Corp is a good step

* Pembina Pipeline Corp : CIBC raises target price to C$39 from C$36, believes the Phase III expansion further enhances the company's highly integrated and substantial legacy asset footprint

* Trinidad Drilling Ltd : CIBC raises target price to $12.25 from C$11.50 to reflect the company's financing with limited changes to forward earnings estimates

* Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc : BMO raises target price of its US-listed shares to $132 from $123 to account for the Solta Medical acquisition and revised Bausch & Lomb synergy forecasts ON THE CALENDAR

* Major Canadian economic data includes manufacturing sales

* Major U.S. events and data includes consumer price index, current account and real earnings

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