CANADA STOCKS-TSX higher as Celtic Exploration soars

Wed Oct 17, 2012 11:22am EDT
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* TSX up 23.45 points, or 0.19 percent, at 12,431.47
    * Seven of the 10 groups higher
    * Celtic Exploration surges 45 percent

    By Solarina Ho
    TORONTO, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index was
higher for the third straight session on Wednesday, boosted by
soaring shares in Celtic Exploration Ltd, though a
disappointing forecast from Potash Corp offset some
    Energy shares were up 1.07 percent, bolstered heavily by
news that Exxon Mobil Corp will buy Celtic Exploration
for C$2.6 billion ($2.64 billion). The news sent the Canadian
oil and gas company soaring 45.14 percent, to C$26.30 and was
the biggest index mover. 
    "There's some excitement around, again, the idea that a
major acquisition is occurring with a beloved Canadian name like
Celtic this morning. I  think that gets the whole space
excited," said Mike Newton, associate director and portfolio
manager at Macquarie Private Wealth Inc.
    Natural gas producer, Encana Corp, was the second
biggest index mover, with shares climbing 2.25 percent, to
    Penn West Petroleum, one of Canada's biggest
conventional oil and gas producers, was up 0.95 percent at
C$13.79, after the company said it would sell some non-core
assets for up to C$1.3 billion ($1.32 billion) to repay a
portion of its debt. 
    Offsetting some of the gains was a 0.49 percent decline in
Potash shares, which were trading at C$40.90. The world's
biggest fertilizer producer said its full-year earnings will be
below the low end of its previous forecast range due to delays
in new contracts with buyers in China and India. 
    "I know the CEO was publicly stating not more than a month
ago that he expected the two to three year outlook to be very
good, but notably absent was any short-term commentary. So I
think the clues were there," said Newton.
    The overall materials group, of which Potash is a member,
was down 0.24 percent.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 was up 23.45 points, or 0.19 percent, at 12,431.47.
Seven of the index's 10 key sectors were in positive territory.
    Royal Bank of Canada was up 0.45 percent at C$58.12,
which helped give the financial group, which make up nearly a
third of the index, a 0.19 percent lift.
    In other corporate news, shares of Ivanplats Ltd,
an Africa-focused miner, rose 7.8 percent on their debut on the
Toronto Stock Exchange early on Wednesday, after raising
slightly over C$300 million ($304.2 million) via an initial
public offering. 
    Ivanplats, backed by one of the mining sector's most
well-known and colorful financiers - Robert Friedland, announced
a long-awaited plan to list in Toronto last month.