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ConocoPhillips jumps on Canada deal; US stocks open flat


[NEW YORK] US stocks opened flat early Thursday, but shares of ConocoPhillips surged after it struck a deal to sell several Canadian oil and gas assets to Cenovus for US$13.3 billion.

Analysts described sentiment as cautious due to lingering uncertainty over President Donald Trump's policy agenda and negotiations on Britain's exit from the European Union.

US growth in the fourth quarter was nudged up to 2.1 per cent from the prior 1.9 per cent estimate, according to official government data.

At 12 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up a hair at 20,662.18.

The broad-based S&P 500 slipped slightly to 2,360.46, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index was marginally positive at 5,899.51.

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ConocoPhillips jumped 6.6 per cent after announcing a deal to sell 50 per cent of the Foster Creek Christina Lake oil sands project, as well as some Canadian natural gas assets, to Cenovus.

Calgary-based Cenovus, which said the deal would lead to greater operational efficiency with its other oil sands assets, tumbled 10.9 per cent.

ConocoPhillips said the transaction would allow it to reduce debt and double its share repurchase authorisation to US$6 billion.

Yoga and athletic attire company Lululemon Athletica sank 20.9 per cent as it projected first-quarter sales and profits well below analyst expectations and said it experienced a "slow" start to 2017.


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