TSX falls on weaker railways, Spanish bank fears

Mon May 28, 2012 5:19pm EDT
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By Jon Cook

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index finished down for the first time in five sessions on Monday, as declines by the country's two largest railways and fears about Spain's shaky banking sector offset energy share gains due to higher oil prices.

Analysts cautioned moves were exaggerated by thin trade due to the Memorial Day holiday in the United States.

"It was a fairly listless day," said John Ing, president of Maison Placements Canada. "You can't grasp anything significant for some of these price moves."

Eight of Canada's 10 main sectors finished in the red. Losses were led by the industrials group, due to a weak performance by Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd (CP.TO: Quote) and Canadian National Railway (CNR.TO: Quote).

CP shares fell more than 2 percent to C$75.52 as a strike by 4,800 locomotive engineers, conductors and railyard workers at the railway entered its sixth day on Monday.

However, the end was near as the Canadian government announced it will force striking workers back to work with fast-track legislation aimed at restoring rail service by Thursday.

CN, which stood to benefit from a prolonged strike at its biggest competitor, saw its shares slip 1.9 percent to C$81.95.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 10.32 points, or 0.1 percent, at 11,566.15.   Continued...

A Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) logo is seen in Toronto November 9, 2007. REUTERS/Mark Blinch