TSX jumps as BCE, Talisman fuel takeover action

Wed Jul 23, 2014 5:25pm EDT
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By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose on Wednesday with oil company Talisman Energy Inc soaring on an approach from Spain's Repsol about a possible deal, while telecom BCE Inc said it wants to buy all the shares in regional affiliate Bell Aliant Inc that it doesn't already own.

The stock reaction - Talisman jumped 13.3 percent to C$11.97 and Bell Aliant surged 11.9 percent to C$31.53 - pushed the Toronto stock market's benchmark index to its fifth record high in the last six sessions.

"It seems like the markets are looking for reasons to go up, more so than looking for excuses to go down," said Shailesh Kshatriya, a strategist focused on Canadian markets at Russell Investments.

Oil and gas shares rose broadly during the session after Talisman said it had been approached by Spanish oil company Repsol SA about potential deals.

Bell Aliant, in which BCE already holds a 44 percent stake, jumped above the C$31 a share that BCE has offered for the rest of its Atlantic Canada affiliate. Shares of BCE, which said it would pay C$3.95 billion ($3.68 billion) to take Bell Aliant private, rose 1.7 percent to C$49.82.

Regional telecom Manitoba Telecom Services gained 1.7 percent to C$31.74 on bets that it too could become a target.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index closed up 79.25 points, or 0.52 percent, at 15,394.38. The day's high was 15,395.74.

The Canadian index has hit a series of record highs over the last few weeks but has been slower hitting new highs than its U.S. peers, despite a strong performance by energy companies.   Continued...

A man walks past an old Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) sign in Toronto, June 23, 2014.   REUTERS/Mark Blinch