CANADA STOCKS-TSX falls on metals prices, Nexen down, RIM up

Wed Dec 3, 2008 12:12pm EST
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* Energy sector slumps 1.5 pct

* Nexen falls 18 pct as takeover speculation wanes

* Materials sag 1.9 pct as gold, base metals fall

* RIM up 2.2 pct despite profit warning (Adds quote, details)

By Jennifer Kwan

TORONTO, Dec 3 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index was lower, but off its lows, at midday on Wednesday as weaker metals prices hit miners and as Nexen Inc NXY.TO fell steeply as takeover speculation waned.

The energy sector was down 1.5 percent even though oil prices edged above $47 a barrel after U.S. weekly data showed a surprise decline in crude inventories. Nexen, which has been at the center of speculation that it would be taken over by Total SA (TOTF.PA: Quote), was the most heavily traded stock on the market, sliding 18 percent to C$19.60.

According to a Times of London report, Total has 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.   Continued...