Toronto stock index falls on resources, BCE climbs

Fri Jul 4, 2008 6:21pm EDT
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By Cameron French

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index retreated on Friday as softer commodity prices pulled down energy and materials issues, while telecoms giant BCE (BCE.TO: Quote) provided an upward push.

With U.S. markets closed, many Toronto traders started their weekend early, leading to thin volumes that accentuated the market's volatility, analysts said.

"America is closed. Whenever that happens, nothing much is going to happen in Canada," said Douglas Davis, president at Davis-Rea in Toronto.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE fell 133.18 points, or 0.94 percent, to close at 14,010.39.

The decline would have been steeper if not for the sharp rise in shares of BCE. BCE climbed 12.8 percent after the company said its C$34.8 billion takeover by a group led by the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan would go ahead at the agreed C$42.75-per-share purchase price.

The stock has endured big swings over the past year as investors wondered if the leveraged buyout would go through and at what price.

"I think this adds another notch in it that it's probably going to be done at C$42.75," said Sal Masionis, a stockbroker at Brant Securities. "If it wasn't for BCE, (the index) would be down quite a bit more."

BCE rose C$4.49 to C$39.64, leading the TSX telecoms subgroup up 5.36 percent.   Continued...

<p>A Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) logo is seen in Toronto November 9, 2007. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>