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TMCNet:  Business News as of 6 p.m. ET

[December 13, 2012]

Business News as of 6 p.m. ET

(Canadian Press DataFile Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Thursday, Dec. 13 6 p.m. ET BUSINESS NEWS ADVISORY Here are the top Business News stories from The Canadian Press as of 6 p.m. ET. All times are Eastern unless otherwise stated. Coverage plans are included when available. Entries are subject to change as news develops.


Queries should be addressed to the business desk at 416-507-2138. To reach CP Business by email, send messages to business(at)thecanadianpress.com.

____ TOP BUSINESS NEWS THIS HOUR ___ Encana, PetroChina partner in Duvernay Encana-PetroChina CALGARY _ Less than a week after Ottawa waved through CNOOC Ltd.'s $15.1-billion takeover of Nexen Inc., a different Chinese state-owned company is plowing another $2.2 billion into the Canadian oilpatch.Natural gas giant Encana Corp. (TSX:ECA) and PetroChina subsidiary Phoenix Duvernay Gas announced Thursday they have reached a deal to work together in the Duvernay, a promising shale natural gas formation in west-central Alberta.

___ Cable providers win at court with fee system SCOC-CRTC-Cable OTTAWA _ The Supreme Court of Canada says the CRTC does not have the power to make cable providers pay broadcasters for carrying their signals.In a 5-4 decision Thursday, the court ruled that setting up such a system is not within the scope of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. In doing so, the justices overturned an earlier Federal Court of Appeal decision. PHOTO. Moves Business and National ___ SNC suspends payments to former CEO Duhaime SNC MONTREAL _ SNC-Lavalin is suspending payments to a former CEO and shaking up its management and board in a bid to protect its reputation amid corruption charges levelled at several former executives.The engineering and construction company said that while the allegations have not been proven in court, it was suspending payments to Pierre Duhaime, who was charged with fraud last month. PHOTO. Moved Business and National ___ Clark says B.C. LNG plans rival oil sands Clark-LNG VICTORIA _ Premier Christy Clark says her government's plan to export liquefied natural gas to Asia is British Columbia's economic equivalent to Alberta's oilsands.In a year-end interview with The Canadian Press, Clark said B.C.'s LNG development ambitions will transform the economy, but the province must act quickly before the opportunity evaporates like gas into the atmosphere. PHOTO.

___ Finning updates outlook for next year Finning-Outlook TORONTO _ Finning International Inc. (TSX:FTT) is looking to grow its service business and is on the hunt for potential acquisitions following a deal for Bucyrus earlier this year, chief executive Mike Waites said Thursday."There will be more dealerships coming Finning's way," Waites told an investor meeting.

___ Texas judge lifts order on TransCanada pipeline US-Oil-Pipeline-Texas HOUSTON _ TransCanada can resume oil pipeline work on a private Texas property for now, a judge said Thursday, at least until a hearing next week meant to determine whether the product the company wants to transport is in fact crude oil.Judge Jack Sinz initially issued an order Friday in Nacogdoches County Court halting work through next week on the Keystone XL pipeline on property owned by Michael Bishop in Douglass, Texas. PHOTO.

___ PERSONAL FINANCE ___ No need to overspend if you shop smart Money Monitor TORONTO _ If overspending in a haze of shopping confusion is a familiar holiday refrain you may need a more restrained approach to gift giving this season.And just because it's getting close to Christmas, it doesn't mean it's time to panic and splurge.

___ Household debt keeps rising: StatsCan Consumer-Debt OTTAWA _ Canadians are more in hock today than ever before, Statistics Canada said Thursday in releasing fresh data on household debt.The new report shows household debt to annual disposable income reached a new high at 164.6 per cent, from 163.3 per cent the previous quarter. PHOTO.

___ Consumer debt hit record high in 2012 YEAR-Housing-Debt OTTAWA _ Scott Hannah says business just keeps getting busier. The head of Credit Counselling Services in Vancouver says the number of people coming for help was up seven per cent this year and there's no sign that pace is going to let up.

___ Regulators looking for feedback on fund fees CSA-Mutual-Funds TORONTO _ Canada's securities regulators are looking into mutual fund fee structures, which have been the subject of debate in recent years.The Canadian Securities Administrators said Thursday they have issued a discussion paper on the topic and are asking for public feedback.

___ BUZZ ___ Canadians still like watching live TV: survey Deloitte-Tech-Trends MONTREAL _ Live TV, such as sporting events, will keep the vast majority of Canadian viewers from "cutting the cord" on traditional TV services in 2013, says Deloitte Canada.Deloitte Canada is predicting that less than one per cent of Canadians will abandon TV services they're paying for from cable, satellite or telecom providers next year, despite hype around it. PHOTO.

___ Google Maps app rockets up iTunes store list US-Apple-Google-Maps SAN FRANCISCO _ Google Maps have found their way back to the iPhone, and the new alternative was already the top-ranking free app in Apple's iTunes store Thursday.The world's most popular online mapping system returned late Wednesday with the release of the Google Maps' iPhone app. PHOTO.

___ ALSO IN THE NEWS ___ TSX lower on commodities, budget talks Dollar-Markets TORONTO _ The Toronto stock market was lower on Thursday as gold stocks were weighed down and concerns developed over comments made at the federal budget talks in Washington.The S&P/TSX composite index fell 63.92 points to end the session at 12,289.17, with commodities-heavy sectors contributing most to the decline. The TSX Venture Exchange was off 11.35 points to 1,173.59.

___ Loonie makes further gains after Fed's move Loonie TORONTO _ The Canadian dollar edged slightly lower on Thursday against the greenback as concerns about the "fiscal cliff" scenario persisted.The loonie fell 0.01 of a cent to 101.54 cents US, after earlier rising to its highest level against the U.S. dollar in two months.

___ Oil ends lower as 'fiscal cliff' concerns grow Oil-Prices NEW YORK _ Oil finished lower Thursday as doubts increased over political leaders' ability to strike a deal in budget negotiations.Enthusiasm over the U.S. Federal Reserve's plan to boost the economy, announced Wednesday, was replaced by concerns that President Barack Obama and Republican leaders were as far apart as ever on reaching a budget deal before year's end.

___ U.S. immigration will have BB10 pilot program Research-In-Motion WATERLOO _ Research In Motion says the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency will be launching a pilot program with its smartphones using the new operating system BlackBerry 10, likely in January.RIM (TSX:RIM) recently announced that the BlackBerry 10 platform has received certification to allow government agencies to deploy BlackBerry 10 smartphones when the new operating system launches on Jan. 30.

___ Brazilian company to buy Rio Verde Minerals Rio-Verde TORONTO _ Rio Verde Minerals Development Corp. (TSX:RVD) has signed a friendly deal to be bought by Brazilian mining company B&A Mineracao S.A. for about $48.6 million.Under the agreement announced Thursday, B&A will pay 40 cents per share in cash for Rio Verde, which is developing fertilizer projects in Brazil.

___ Profits at Sobeys operator Empire up 19% Empire STELLARTON _ Empire Company Ltd. (TSX:EMP.A), a company best known as operator of the Sobeys supermarket chain, is reporting a 19.5 per cent increase in fiscal second-quarter profits.Nova Scotia-based Empire reported Thursday that net income, net of minority interest, was $93.3 million or $1.37 per share in the 13 weeks ended Nov. 3.

___ Economy to pick up speed in 2013: RBC RBC-Economy-Forecast OTTAWA _ Canada's largest bank is taking a relatively bullish stance on the prospects for the economy going forward.The Royal Bank's latest quarterly outlook predicts growth will accelerate to 2.4 per cent next year and continue to expand to 2.8 per cent in 2014, following a year that saw the weakest growth since the recession and a virtual stall in the third quarter.

___ Rental apartment vacancy rate up: CMHC CMHC-Vacancy OTTAWA _ Canada's overall apartment vacancy rate has risen over the past year, with an increased supply of rental units and a slowdown in household formation by Canadians being cited among the reasons.Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says the average vacancy rate in 35 major metropolitan areas across the country rose to 2.6 per cent in October from 2.2 per cent in October 2011. Moved Business and National ___ (c) 2012 The Canadian Press

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