Canada Stocks Settling With New All Time Highs; Talisman, BCE and Bell Aliant In The News

Canada's main stock market, the Toronto Stock Exchange, closed Wednesday up near 80 points and with new all-time record highs posted. Most sectors on the resources heavy index were higher as prices settled, including the key Energy and Mining sectors. But Info Tech and Financials were down.

Investor interest in Canadian equities and the loonie was buoyed by a report showing the nation's retail sales rose 0.7% to $42 billion in May, better than expected.

Calgary-based oil producer Talisman Energy Inc. (TLM.TO, TLM) was up 13% after saying it has been approached by Spain's biggest oil company Repsol SA "with regards to various transactions." Talisman added: "There is no assurance that any transaction will be agreed." According to Reuters, Repsol said it has been studying different acquisition deals to boost its upstream business, including Talisman, but added that it has not made any firm decision on the matter.

For its part, BCE (BCE.TO) gained 1.65% after early Wednesday saying that it is taking its affiliate Bell Aliant (BA.TO) private in a transaction valued at C$3.95 billion by launching a formal tender offer for approximately 127.5 million public minority shares. The Canadian telecommunications firm already holds a 44% stake in Bell Aliant, which closed up near 12% and hit new year highs.

In an analyst conference call held before opening bell on Wednesday, management from the dual-listed company said it is committed to maintaining the Bell Aliant brand in Atlantic Canada through a $2.1 billion planned investment in the region over the next five years. The plan includes the continued roll-out of broadband wireline and wireless technologies for consumers and business users.

Furthermore, BCE said it will keep its commitment to beefed up investment in LTE technology despite the move, beginning with the deployment of 4G LTE wireless network to more than 100 additional communities.

Of commodities, gold futures fell for a second straight day as investor buying interest appears to be more tuned in to equities these days. Meanwhile, Bloomberg said West Texas Intermediate crude rose after a government report showed stockpiles dropped at Cushing, Oklahoma, the contract's delivery point. It added that gasoline futures declined after supplies climbed to a four-month high.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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