CANADA STOCKS-TSX falls on weaker commodities; Nexen slumps

Wed Dec 3, 2008 10:51am EST
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* Energy sector slumps 4 pct as oil flat ahead of data

* Nexen tumbles 16 pct after takeover speculation wanes

* Materials sag 4 pct as gold, base metals fall

* RIM tumbles 2.4 percent after profit warning (Adds quote, details)

TORONTO, Dec 3 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index fell more than 2 percent on Wednesday morning as resource issues fell along with commodity prices to lead a broad-based retreat, with Nexen Inc NXY.TO down steeply as takeover speculation ended.

The energy sector was down 4 percent as oil slipped below $47 a barrel ahead of weekly inventory data. Nexen, which has been at the center of takeover speculation by Total SA (TOTF.PA: Quote) and the most heavily traded stock on the market, slid 16.4 percent at C$19.96.

According to a Times of London report, Total had dropped the idea of a bid for Canada's No. 4 independent oil explorer. [ID:nWEA7872]

"The major individual story of the day is Nexen. There had been some pretty persistent rumors that the France-based Total would make an offer for Nexen," said Peter Chandler, senior vice-president at Canaccord Capital in Waterloo, Ontario.

"That sort of set the tone for the energy sector as a whole"   Continued...