Energy stocks drag down TSX as crude oil prices sink to 7month

TORONTO — Oil and gas producers weighed heavily on Canada’s main stock index Tuesday as sliding crude prices hit a seven-month low amid concerns about market oversupply.The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 116.44 points to 15,149.60, with energy sector losses of 2.23 per cent leading decliners.Cenovus Energy (TSX:CVE) was among the hardest hit, with its shares down 84 cents, or 8.17 per cent, to $9.44. The Calgary-based oil company announced plans to sell between $4 billion and $5 billion of assets, cut up to an additional $1 billion in costs over the next three years and the unexpected retirement of CEO Brian Ferguson.The price of oil also fell to its lowest level since mid-November after the August crude contract closed 92 cents lower at US$43.51 per barrel.The commodity has been bouncing between $40 and $55 per barrel for much of the last year, down from more than $110 in the summer of 2013.OPEC members have banded together to cut production in hopes of limiting supplies, but increased output in non-OPEC countries like the United States has investors questioning how much they can influence prices.“What’s happening is that U.S. shale gas is going in the other direction. There’s been more supply popping up,” said Sadiq Adatia, chief investment officer of Sun Life Global Investments.“People are thinking that perhaps if the U.S. starts increasing supply then OPEC and non-OPEC members will turn and say, ‘No, if they’re going to increase supply, we’re going to increase supply too.”‘In New York, the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index dropped 50.98 points to 6,188.03. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 61.85 points to 21,467.14 and the S&P 500 index shed 16.43 points to 2,437.03.In other market news, shares of Home Capital Group (TSX:HCG) moved up 63 cents, or 4.26 per cent, to $15.42. The alternative mortgage lender said it is selling $1.2 billion in mortgage assets to KingSett Capital, a private equity firm focused on real estate, in a bid to stabilize itself.In currencies, the Canadian dollar was trading 0.27 of a cent lower to an average price of 75.37 cents US.Elsewhere in commodities, the July natural gas contract was up a cent at US$2.91 per mmBTU, August gold was down $3.20 to US$1,243.50 an ounce and July copper was down four cents at US$2.55 a pound.Follow @DaveHTO on Twitter. read more

At ComicCon comic books and their heroes leap from pages into film

At Comic-Con, comic books and their heroes leap from pages into film, videogames, television SAN DIEGO – There’s no such thing as just a comic book hero anymore. From big-screen films and small-screen animation to books, clothes and makeup, the hero business is big business.Two decades ago, the only place to find the X-Men was in the pages of comics and on Saturday morning cartoons. Now, they, and others, like Superman, Batman and the zombies from “The Walking Dead” are cultural juggernauts, crossing over into everything.And nowhere is that more evident than at Comic-Con International.Once just 300 or so attendees in a hotel, the event now hosts more than 100,000 visitors over four days and is a top destination for film and television companies, not to mention marketers of apparel and other products, too.Attendees can wear Avengers perfume while walking in Converse high-tops that have the Joker or Batman on the sides. They’re buying glass tumblers with Marvel superheroes on them, T-shirts that bear the logo of Green Lantern, and hats with The Flash lightning bolt on the front.It’s no surprise, either, said Rob Salkowitz, a consultant and author of “Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture.” Comics have been a foundation of entertainment for decades, but since the 1990s, the advent of better technology in film and TV has seen what was once a staple of four-colour comics transform into visual spectacles.“Superheroes were created because it was a good fit for the print technology in the 1930s and 1940s,” Salkowitz said. “What happened in the late 1990s is the technology for video games and movies finally got good enough to realize the imagery of comic books in a satisfying way.”To wit, Bruce Banner’s eye-popping transformation into the Incredible Hulk is easy to do, and realistic.“Of course, the level of visual effects now, anything is possible,” said Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios. “I think people, back in the day, would look at a beautiful Jack Kirby drawing and say ‘That’s beautiful, you could never bring that to life. Now, you can.”Now, there’s a demand for content to fill stories of all stripes.Robert Kirkman’s “The Walking Dead” was a black-and-white comic drawing rave reviews. Now it’s a top-rated TV show commanding millions of viewers, helping boost sales of collected editions of the graphic novels and driving interest in hiring comic book scribes for television.Brian Michael Bendis, who writes for Marvel Entertainment, had a pilot shot for his creator-owned “Powers” series that he does with Michael Avon Oeming.Kirkman is also going into television again with “Clone,” a comic series created and written by David Schulner for his Skybound imprint. On Saturday, it was announced that “Clone” had landed a development deal with Universal Television.Schulner credited Kirkman for guidance in doing that, too.“I knew if I went off the rails too badly, Robert would be there to put me back on track. Now I’ve been writing the comic for two years — issue No. 9 comes out next week — and I just finished writing issue 15, so to be able to turn it into a television show is just icing on the cake.And it’s not just heroes, either. Archie Comics’ Sabrina was turned into the popular TV sitcom “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” starring Melissa Joan Hart. It ran for seven seasons.Salkowitz said comics have “70 years of backstory” and an “emotional resonance” on nearly everyone.“It becomes a very easy thing for Hollywood and video game manufacturers to plug right in to this existing mythology,” he said. “They don’t have to invent it all themselves. They don’t have to jumpstart universes.”It boils down to loyal, enthusiastic fans, and the comic book companies have that.“Every brand wants raving fans, they don’t want consumers. They want fans, people who are participating,” Salkowitz said. “Look around. Comics have fans.” AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by Matt Moore, The Associated Press Posted Jul 20, 2013 7:08 pm MDT read more