TSX drops as energy, financial shares lead losses

Fri Mar 27, 2015 5:14pm EDT
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By Solarina Ho

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index finished lower on Friday in a retreat led by financial stocks and by energy companies, which were pulled down by a sharp fall in crude prices.

The price of oil sank some 5 percent as the likelihood of an Iran nuclear deal with the West, which could result in more crude supply on the market, trumped concern over an air strike in Yemen by Saudi Arabia and its allies that could endanger a major oil supply route. [O/R]

"The energy group is again being driven by crude oil ... We had a spike yesterday on geopolitical concerns, but obviously that didn't last today," said Elvis Picardo, strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.

The overall energy group fell 0.9 percent and a major decliner in the sector was Vermilion Energy Inc (VET.TO: Quote), down 2.2 percent at C$54.07.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished the session down 57.38 points, or 0.4 percent, at 14,812.42. Four of the index's 10 main groups, including the heavyweight financials, materials, and energy groups, were in negative territory.

The index was down almost 0.9 percent on the week.

The financial sector was off 0.85 percent. In the group, Fairfax Financial Holdings (FFH.TO: Quote), one of the largest shareholders in smartphone maker BlackBerry Ltd (BB.TO: Quote), fell just under 1 percent to C$727.00, and was the most influential decliner on the index.

Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote) was down 0.8 percent at C$75.09.   Continued...

A man walks past an old Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) sign in Toronto, June 23, 2014.   REUTERS/Mark Blinch