UPDATE 3-BCE, oils hold Toronto stocks back to end flat

Thu May 22, 2008 5:18pm EDT
 
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*TSX ends little changed as energy shares fall

*BCE dives after court ruling raises fears over its buyout

*Bargain-hunting in financial shares gives support

By Leah Schnurr

TORONTO, May 22 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index finished nearly flat on Thursday, pressured by weak energy shares, while BCE Inc (BCE.TO: Quote) was hammered by concerns that a court decision could put an end to its buyout.

Shares of BCE, Canada's biggest telecom company, slumped C$4.48, or 12.1 percent, to C$32.64 after a Quebec court backed debtholders who said that the buyout deal was unfair to them. The transaction, worth C$34.8 billion ($35.2 billion), is the world's largest leveraged buyout.

BCE stock was halted by the TSX in the afternoon, pending clarification of the status of orders. The exchange said there had been a service disruption for about 45 minutes in the morning, which caused "data integrity concerns".

The telecom company's stock was the most actively traded by far at 26.3 million shares.   Continued...