CanWest stocks continue to drop

Latest decline follows report over stock index

TORONTO -- Stock in CanWest Global Communications, Canada's largest media group, continued to slide Friday amid the prospect that its shares will disappear from Canada's benchmark stock index.

Stock in Winnipeg-based CanWest, which operates two national TV networks, fell by CAN$0.13 ($0.12), or 5%, to CAN$2.40 ($2.25) in morning trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange. That followed a report from UBS Securities Canada analyst Garry Cooper that calculated CanWest stock will be deleted from the Standard & Poor's/TSX composite index as early as Sept. 19 if its value continues to fall.

CanWest has seen its stock collapse this year due to concerns over the CAN$3.7 billion in debt it accumulated after acquisitions including a deal for Alliance Atlantis Communications in partnership with Goldman Sachs & Co.

Large institutional investors typically dump large corporate stock that slips from the S&P/TSX index.

CanWest, also the country's largest newspaper publisher, is reportedly weighing a bid to be taken private by Fairfax Financial Holdings.