Kashagan consortium says begins test oil pumping
ALMATY, Sept 29 The consortium of oil majors developing the giant Kashagan oilfield in Kazakhstan has begun test pumping, it said on Thursday.
* TSX down 131.92 points, or 1.1 pct, at 12,229.28 * All 10 sectors lower, led by energy shares By Claire Sibonney TORONTO, Nov 7 Canada's main stock index skidded to a near two-week low on Wednesday as investors turned their focus from Barack Obama's win in the U.S. presidential election to the "fiscal cliff" that now confronts the world's largest economy. Emboldened by a resounding election victory, Obama immediately pledged to reach across America's political divide to seek deals to resolve stubborn issues that dogged his first term. But the Toronto market was skeptical that Obama and Congress would find a quick resolution on the fiscal cliff - a mix of tax increases and spending cuts due to extract some $600 billion from the economy at the end of the year barring a deal - and all of the main index's 10 sectors were in negative territory. The retreat was led by energy shares, off 2.1 percent, as oil prices fell. Suncor Energy dropped 3.1 percent to C$33.53, Canadian Natural Resources lost 3.3 percent to C$29.22, and Cenovus Energy was down 2.4 percent at C$33.76. "Temporarily you're going to see weakening demand for commodities. And that's being reflected in the market today," said Michael Sprung, president at Sprung Investment Management. "(U.S. political gridlock) is not good for the Canadian market. Though I believe eventually the U.S. is going to approve the Keystone pipeline, having the Democrats in power may (push it) further in the future." At 11:12 a.m. (1512 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was down 131.92 points, or 1.1 percent, at 12,229.28. Earlier, it hit its weakest level since Oct. 25 but was still holding up better than Wall Street, down more than 2 percent. "The market is worrying about 'Will there be any change in the stubbornness displayed by both sides?'" said Gavin Graham, president at Graham Investment Strategy. "Because if there isn't then you could see the major driver of the North American and indeed the world economy ... shutting down government in less than two months." The problems that dogged Obama in his first term, which cast a long shadow over his 2008 campaign message of hope and change, still confront him. He must tackle the government's $1 trillion annual deficit, rein in the $16 trillion national debt, overhaul expensive social programs and deal with the split Congress. Weighing on broader sentiment, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi underscored the weakness in Europe's economy. Some Canadian earnings reports also dampened sentiment. One of the heaviest decliners on the index was fertilizer producer Agrium Inc, down nearly 10 percent to C$96.00, after it reported lower quarterly profit due to downtime at its potash mine and dragged-out contract talks with China and India. Bombardier dropped 4.4 percent to C$3.45 after it said it would delay by about six months the first flight of its C-Series jetliner because of issues related to suppliers, and that it would cut about 1,200 jobs in its train manufacturing division. Enbridge was down 0.7 percent to C$39.81. Canada's second-largest pipeline company reported a third-quarter profit as losses on financial derivatives fell and it carried more oil and natural gas on some of its pipelines. WestJet Airlines slipped 0.3 percent to C$17.91 despite reporting an 80 percent rise in third-quarter profit as it flew more passengers.
* Conservative lawmaker - no repeat of state support (adds comment from ECB, detail, background)
Sept 29 ConAgra Foods Inc, the maker of Chef Boyardee pasta and Hunt's ketchup, reported lower-than-expected quarterly sales, hurt by lower demand for its grocery, snacks and frozen food items.