Loblaw surges but TSX drops slightly as TD slips

Thu Dec 6, 2012 5:20pm EST
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By John Tilak

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main equity index slipped on Thursday as investor concern about flat quarterly results from Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO: Quote) and about its latest U.S. acquisition offset a 14-percent jump in Loblaw Cos Ltd (L.TO: Quote) on the grocer's plan to spin off its real estate assets.

The market was also hurt by bleak comments from the European Central Bank about the outlook for the region, as well as by continuing distress over the still-unresolved U.S. fiscal crisis.

Shares of Toronto-Dominion, the country's second-biggest bank, ended 1.8 percent lower at C$81.12 after it said it is buying the owner of Epoch Investment Partners for $668 million in cash to expand its U.S. asset management business. It also reported a flat quarterly profit that spurred market concern over the bank's higher expenses and loan loss provisions.

TD was the index's biggest heavyweight decliner.

"TD has been a laggard of all the banks this year. People were expecting more. There is nothing to write home about the results," said Irwin Michael, portfolio manager at ABC Funds.

Shares in Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO: Quote) and National Bank of Canada (NA.TO: Quote) also slipped after they reported quarterly earnings on Thursday.

The financial sector, the index's biggest, dropped 0.6 percent, while the energy sector slipped 0.2 percent, hurt by falling oil prices. Brent January crude fell $1.78 a barrel to $107.03. <O/R>

Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO: Quote) lost 0.6 percent to C$32.48, Cenovus Energy Inc (CVE.TO: Quote) fell 0.7 percent to C$33.21, and Encana Corp (ECA.TO: Quote) was down 1.3 percent at C$21.25.   Continued...

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