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