TSX falls as Wall Street worry hits Canadian financials

Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:00pm EDT
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By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's benchmark stock index fell on Tuesday, with heavyweight financial stocks following Wall Street banks lower as investors fretted about U.S. President Donald Trump's ability to boost growth and energy stocks weighing with lower oil prices.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended down 129.19 points, or 0.84 percent, at 15,313.13.

Of the index's 10 main groups, only the typically defensive telecoms and utilities sectors ended in positive territory, while gold miners also gained as bullion benefited from a weaker U.S. dollar.

"This is the bloom off the rose," said Niall Brown, a portfolio manager at Morgan Meighen & Associates, referring to the legislative battle Trump faces to overhaul the healthcare law known as Obamacare before turning his attention to the tax system and business regulations.

"The market is suddenly realizing maybe things aren't going to get enacted in as business-friendly a manner as he was hoping," he said. "The North American banks certainly took a good ding today as a result."

Canada's heavyweight financials group fell 1.2 percent, adding to losses from the prior two sessions, with insurer Manulife Financial Corp MFC.TO shedding 4 percent to C$23.04 and Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO: Quote) off 1.2 percent at C$64.84.

Energy stocks fell 1.6 percent, as concerns about new supply pushed U.S. crude down to its lowest since November. [O/R]

The most influential gainers on the index included Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO: Quote), which advanced 2.1 percent to C$25.99.   Continued...

A Bay Street sign, a symbol of Canada's economic markets and where main financial institutions are located, is seen in Toronto, May 1, 2013.  REUTERS/Mark Blinch