CANADA STOCKS-TSX in broad retreat after bid for Astral blocked

Fri Oct 19, 2012 11:22am EDT
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* TSX down 47.28 points, or 0.38 percent, to 12,418.84
    * All 10 main groups lower
    * Astral Media shares plunge 15.74 percent to C$39.60

    By Solarina Ho
    TORONTO, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index fell
on Friday, as shares of Astral Media Inc plunged
almost 16 percent after the country's broadcast regulator
blocked its planned takeover by BCE Inc.
    Also dragging on the index was the heavily weighted
financial group, which was off 0.47 percent.
    Multiple analysts cut their price targets for Astral Media
after the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications
Commission blocked BCE's C$3 billion ($3.05 billion) bid. Astral
was one of the most influential decliners on the index, with its
shares falling to C$39.60. BCE fell 1.67 percent to C$42.90,
while the overall telecoms sector was off 0.37 percent.
    "Obviously there were a lot of people who were disappointed
that this deal didn't go through," said Fred Ketchen, director
of equity trading at ScotiaMcLeod.
    "BCE is certainly a significant weight within the index. ...
It does have a bearing on sentiment, it does have a bearing on
the market."
    The CRTC said the deal would give too much power to BCE,
already Canada's biggest telecoms company. It was the biggest
deal the commission has ever blocked, marking a shift toward
consumer advocacy. 
    At mid morning, the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX
composite index retreated 47.28 points, or 0.38
percent, to 12,418.84. All of the index's 10 main groups were
    Among financials, Royal Bank of Canada led the
decline and was down 0.68 percent at C$58.35, while Bank of Nova
Scotia was off 0.59 percent at C$54.15. Toronto
Dominion Bank slipped 0.47 percent, to C$82.66.
    "Given a little bit of negative sentiment toward the market,
some people -- particular the short-term traders -- are going to
take some profits and lock them in," said Ketchen, noting that
the financial sector was still up about 10 percent on the year.
    "This market is just showing some weariness. Keeping in mind
however, that when we look at it on the week's basis, all of our
sectors so far are still up on the week," he said.