CANADA STOCKS-TSX little changed, buoyed by oil, M&A hopes

* TSX up 0.28 percent to 11,755.09

* Energy group rises as oil price firms

* End of Australian mining tax may be near after election

* Potash up 2.1 pct, among big deals in play this month

* Gold miners retreat, price of precious metal steady

By Ka Yan Ng

TORONTO, Aug 23 (BestGrowthStock) – Toronto’s main stock index
edged higher on Monday morning as oil prices firmed and
investor sentiment rose on optimism for several big corporate
merger deals.

Mining stocks also got a lift from speculation that
Australia’s inconclusive weekend elections could spell the end
of a controversial mining tax. [ID:nAUVOTE]

Cameco (CCO.TO: ) was up 2 percent at C$27.22, while Teck
Resources (TCKb.TO: ) rose 0.6 percent to C$34.55.

“That Australian election result gave the mining and metals
sector a bit of a kick start here,” said Bruce Latimer,
trader at Dundee Securities.

“But volumes are light. They’ve been light the last few
weeks, and especially on Mondays and Fridays.”

However, gold-mining stocks were among the TSX’s chief
decliners, keeping the overall materials group nearly
unchanged.

Golds took a breather following gains earlier this month on
safe-haven buying, amid uncertainty about the world economic
outlook. The price of gold was flat on Monday.

Barrick Gold (ABX.TO: ) was off 1.15 percent at C$46.36,
while Goldcorp (G.TO: ) slipped 1.16 percent to C$43.43.

At 10:30 a.m. (1430 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s
S&P/TSX composite index (.GSPTSE: ) was up 33.02 points, or 0.28
percent, at 11,755.09. Eight of the index’s 10 main groups were
up, led by a 0.54 percent gain in the hefty energy group.

The price of oil climbed above $74 a barrel on Monday from
last week’s six-week low, although bulging U.S. inventories and
a lack of storm activity in the Gulf of Mexico limited gains.
[O/R]

Suncor Energy (SU.TO: ) gained 1.01 percent to C$33.01, while
Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: ) climbed 1.13 percent to
C$34.13.

A surge in the outlook for further M&A activity this month
has also helped boost equities in Canada and around the world.
Thomson Reuters data showed global mergers and acquisitions
have hit nearly $200 billion so far in August.[ID:nLDE67M0IJ]

“That’s certainly positive for the underlying market. If
people feel credit markets and that are in good shape, that
certainly provides a good tone,” said Latimer.

At home, takeover target Potash Corp (POT.TO: ) was up 2.1
percent at C$160.33, near its highest level since the No. 1
fertilizer producer was put in play by BHP Billiton’s (BHP.AX: )
(BLT.L: ) $39 billion hostile bid.

Potash Corp. continues to mull its alternatives, and has
held discussions with China’s Sinochem Group, a source close to
the matter said on Monday. [ID:nN22340110]

Among other key deals in the making was one by
Hewlett-Packard (HPQ.N: ), which has topped a bid by technology
rival Dell Inc (DELL.O: ) to buy data storage company 3PAR
(PAR.N: ). As well, Campbell Soup Co (CPB.N: ) may make a $2.3
billion break-up bid for Britain’s United Biscuits, which is
owned by private equity firms PAI Partners and Blackstone Group
LP (BX.N: ). [ID:nN23188685] [ID:nLDE67L05L]

Elsewhere, HSBC (HSBA.L: ) is in talks to buy a stake in
South Africa’s Nedbank, while an estimated $58 billion worth of
M&A was playing out on Monday in Asia.

($1=$1.05 Canadian)
(Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Rob Wilson)

CANADA STOCKS-TSX little changed, buoyed by oil, M&A hopes