CANADA STOCKS-TSX ends lower as Nexen deal talk dissipates

Wed Dec 3, 2008 5:19pm EST
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* Toronto market down 10.5 percent on week so far

* Nexen leads drop as takeover talk wanes

* RIM shares rebound to keep market's slide in check (Adds details, comments and U.S. market closes)

By Frank Pingue

TORONTO, Dec 3 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index finished lower for a third straight session on Wednesday with energy shares sliding as talk about a possible hostile takeover bid for Nexen Inc NXY.TO fizzled out.

Nexen, whose shares rallied on Tuesday on talk that it may be acquired by French oil major Total SA TOTF.PA, handed back all those gains as speculation waned that a takeover offer would be made. The drag on Nexen shares spilled over to the rest of Toronto's energy group, which was down 1.9 percent.

Shares of Nexen dropped 9.34 percent to C$21.65, while EnCana Corp ECA.TO shares fell 1.97 percent to C$52.88.

London-based banking sources said Total had not secured financing for a potential C$19.7 billion bid for Nexen. That contradicted earlier media reports that said the company had the backing of lenders for a deal.

"It just goes to show you that in this market even a potential acquisition target finds it very difficult to make gains," said Elvis Picardo, analyst and strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.   Continued...