CANADA STOCKS-TSX rises as Nexen, Progress rally on deal approval

Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:34am EST

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* TSX rises 48.70 points, or 0.40 percent, to 12,208.29
    * Nexen up 14 percent, Progress Energy gains 13 percent
    * Some oil sands companies decline on investment concerns
    * Canadian oil sands players Athabasca, MEG both drop

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
climbed on Monday, led by a rally in Nexen Inc and
Progress Energy Resources Corp after Canada approved
foreign bids for both energy companies, although it also imposed
limits on takeovers in the sector.
    Nexen shares jumped 14.2 percent to C$26.59 after the
federal government approved CNOOC Ltd's $15.1 billion
bid. Progress Energy Resources Corp, whose $5.3 billion
takeover by Malaysian state-owned energy company Petronas was
also approved, surged 13.4 percent to C$21.96.
    Gains in the two stocks and the broader energy sector
outweighed the impact of new restrictions on some investments in
the oil sands sector that hurt shares of some smaller players.
    Canada on Friday approved the landmark bid from CNOOC,
China's third-largest oil company. But the Conservative
government said it would block virtually all new attempts by
foreign state-owned enterprises to buy assets in the sector.
 
    "It was a well-crafted decision. Overall people are
satisfied. The primary concern here revolves around the fact
that state-owned enterprises are, unlike free-market companies,
competing with an unfair advantage," said Michael Sprung,
president of Sprung Investment Management.
    "I think Canada is open for business," he added.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 was up 48.70 points, or 0.40 percent, at 12,208.29.
Nine of the 10 main sectors on the index were trading higher.
    The energy sector was up about 1 percent, leading the
market.
    However, shares of some companies active in the oil sands
sector declined over concerns about more limited investment.
    Suncor Energy Inc, Canada's largest energy company
and a dominant oil sands producer, fell 0.6 percent to C$32.04
and played the biggest role of any single stock in weighing on
the market.
    Smaller oil sands players were also hit. MEG Energy Corp
 was down 2.5 percent at C$33.86. Canadian Oil Sands Ltd
 fell 0.7 percent at C$19.85 and Athabasca Oil Corp
 lost 0.8 percent to C$10.17.    
    "People are worried about the capital that's going to be
available in the oil industry. Certainly there has been a ring
drawn around the oil sands," Sprung said.
    Investors might view smaller oil sands companies as being
shut out from a foreign takeover at a premium price, Sprung
said.
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