Oct 4 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index looked set to open higher on Thursday after the European Central Bank left interest rates unchanged at its policy meeting and as upbeat U.S. economic data in the previous session helped alleviate fears of global slowdown.
* The euro zone is considering aiding Spain by providing insurance for investors who buy government bonds in a move designed to maintain Spanish access to capital markets and minimize the cost to European taxpayers, European sources said.
* The European Central Bank kept its interest rates on hold on Thursday as markets awaited signals from its President Mario Draghi about when he might pull the trigger on his new bond-buying plan.
* Mitt Romney battled back in his uphill drive to oust President Barack Obama on Wednesday with an aggressive debate performance that put his campaign on a more positive footing after weeks of stumbles and knocked Obama off-stride.
* Spain's central bank head cast doubt on the government's 2013 budget and deficit cutting plans, saying they were based on a too-rosy outlook for the economy and tax revenue.
* The European Union is poised to ban imports of Iranian gas into Europe as part of its efforts to ratchet up pressure on the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program, diplomats said.
* Spanish borrowing costs mostly fell at a bond auction but uncertainty over whether the government will ask for an international bailout means they could rise again soon.
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MARKET SNAPSHOT * Canada stock futures traded up 0.38 percent * U.S. stock futures , , were up around 0.4 percent * European shares , were up COMMODITY PRICE MOVES
* Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index : 308.20; rose 0.41 percent
* Gold futures : $1,786.8; rose 0.53 percent * US crude : $88.75; rose 0.69 percent * Brent crude : $109.4; rose 1.14 percent * LME 3-month copper : $8,337.25; rose 0.57 percent CANADIAN STOCKS TO WATCH
* Sandvine Corporation : The network equipment maker reported a third-quarter loss as margins tightened.
* Air Canada : The airline flew with record levels of passengers for the month September, but levels at regional carrier Porter Airlines fell from a year earlier.
* Husky Energy Inc. : The oil producer and refiner reached agreement with the United Steelworkers union, after a four-month strike, for members to return to work at the 155,000 barrel-per-day Lima, Ohio, refinery starting Oct. 8, a company spokesman said on Wednesday.
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters.
* Air Canada : NBF raises price target to C$1.70 from C$1.35, cites increased traffic and load factors, expects benefits from improved costs, new maintenance deals, reduced regional airline costs and the lower cost carrier
* Chorus Aviation Inc. : NBF cuts to underperform from sector perform on significant valuation impact from the arbitration ruling in the cost benchmarking case
* Quebecor Inc. : NBF raises price target to C$41 from C$39, while CIBC cuts target to C$41 from C$44, after the company bought back 30.5 million shares of unit Quebecor Media Inc from Canadian pension fund Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec for C$1.5 billion
* Rogers Sugar Inc. : NBF starts with sector perform rating and price target C$6.50, says the company has some attractive investment traits including a duopoly market and diversified developed channels
ON THE CALENDAR * Major Canadian economic data includes Ivey PMI
* Major U.S. events and data includes initial claims, factory orders, durable goods and FOMC minutes
($1= $0.98 Canadian)
(Reporting by Chandrashekhar Modi; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)
Keywords: MARKETS CANADA/STOCKS