Financial shares, risk aversion take TSX slightly lower

Fri Apr 7, 2017 5:01pm EDT
 
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TORONTO/OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index dipped on Friday as financial and natural resource shares lost ground, while concerns about escalating geopolitical tensions after U.S. missile strikes in Syria prompted a risk-off sentiment among investors.

The banking sector .SPTTFS fell 0.2 percent as Canada's 10-year government bond CA10YT=RR yield touched 1.505 percent, its lowest in four months.

Higher bond yields would reduce the value of insurance companies' liabilities and increase net interest margins of banks.

Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO: Quote) was the biggest drag on the Toronto market, down 0.8 percent at C$78.11, followed by Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote), which declined 0.5 percent to C$97.32.

Traders were focused on the political environment after the United States launched cruise missile strikes on a Syrian air base. Russia warned on Friday that the move could have "extremely serious" consequences.

"Markets have been fairly complacent on the risk side," said Youssef Zohny, international client advisor at the StennerZohny Group of Morgan Stanley.

"So any sort of headline or geopolitical risk, I would say the market is more sensitive to some of those effects."

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished down 30.05 points, or 0.19 percent, at 15,667.13.

Six of the index's 10 main groups were lower. Even with Friday's small decline, the TSX ended the week up 0.8 percent, its second consecutive week of gains.   Continued...

 
Passersby watch the performance of stocks on a financial news television screen in the business district of Toronto, Canada, January 30, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren