TSX ends lower as banks, railways and RIM drop

Fri Sep 21, 2012 5:22pm EDT
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By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index ended lower on Friday after a sharp late sell-off, with financial and industrial stocks weighing, and Research In Motion RIM.TO falling more than 7 percent after a BlackBerry service outage.

Miners, utilities and oil companies rose on a rebound in crude oil and bullion prices but the rest of the Toronto Stock Exchange's main sectors slipped as investors displayed a case of end-of-the-week nerves.

"It's remarkable how low the volumes are these days and no one wants to be long or exposed over the weekend," said Gavin Graham, president at Graham Investment Strategy, citing jitters over potential shock events such as military strikes in the Middle East.

"In the event something happens in Iran or some other potential black swan...if something were to happen the liquidity is just not there," he said.

Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote) was the single biggest weight on the index, down 1.3 percent at C$55.99. Canadian National Railway Co (CNR.TO: Quote) continued a fall started on Thursday, ending down 1.6 percent at C$86.02.

The Toronto exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended down 25.65 points, or 0.21 percent, at 12,383.60. The index traded in positive territory for all but the last minutes of the session. It fell 0.9 percent in the week.

"The biggest problem is that there's a lethargy by investors at this stage," said Ron Meisels, technical analyst and president of Phases & Cycles in Montreal. "For the long term, this is fantastic because if we had euphoria and contentment and belief, then I would have to turn bearish immediately."

Banks and real estate investments trusts were undermined by worries that central banks seemed willing to pump almost unlimited stimulus money into the global economy to bolster growth.   Continued...

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