TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index fell more than 1 percent for a second straight day on Thursday, as some of its biggest banks retreated despite reporting profit growth and railway and pipeline stocks also weakened.
The broad move lower was in line with losses in U.S. and European equity markets as investors expressed disappointment over the European Central Bank's latest policy easing measures. [.N]
Gold miners were the main exception to the fall, gaining as gold bounced off near six-year lows on the back of a falling U.S. dollar. [GOL/]
"The rest of the TSX weakness can be attributed to some profit-taking in the banks as well as significant weakness south of the border," said Elvis Picardo, a strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended the day down 139.15 points, or 1.03 percent, at 13,324.67.
Investors overlooked forecast-topping profits reported by Canadian banks this week, focusing instead on the lenders' ability to grow in a weak economy reeling from depressed oil prices.
The ECB cut its deposit rate deeper into negative territory and extended its asset buys by six months, but disappointed investors who had expected more.
Meanwhile, comments from U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen about a likely rate hike there also weighed on sentiment.
"The market is once again getting a bit spooked about the prospect of higher rates in the U.S.," Picardo said.
Nine of the TSX's 10 main sectors fell.
The energy group was slightly lower despite a 3 percent gain in crude prices on a falling U.S. dollar and pre-OPEC hedging. [O/R]
Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO), Canada's largest pipeline company, fell 3 percent to C$45.82, after raising its quarterly dividend and announcing a five-year strategic plan.
TransCanada Corp (TRP.TO), Canada's second largest pipeline operator, fell 2.5 percent to C$41.62 after it said it raised its stake in the Bruce nuclear power plant in Ontario to 48.5 percent.
Additional reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Chris Reese