TSX slips as energy boost offset by banks, Valeant

Thu Aug 18, 2016 5:28pm EDT
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By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index ended barely lower on Thursday as energy stock gains on higher oil prices were offset by weakness in bank shares and some consumer and telecommunications names and a reversal in Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc (VRX.TO: Quote).

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE settled down 1.92 points, or 0.01 percent, at 14,695.68. Advancers outnumbered decliners by a ratio of 1.2-to-1.

The heavyweight energy group climbed 1.3 percent, with Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO: Quote) up 0.9 percent to C$36.64 and Encana Corp (ECA.TO: Quote) jumping 5.9 percent to C$12.95, as Brent crude rose above $50 a barrel for the first time in six weeks.

But six of the index's 10 main groups ended lower, including a 0.5 percent fall for financials and a 0.7 percent loss for the smaller consumer staples group.

Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier, said the banks may have stepped back as investors bet on a slower pace of U.S. interest rate hikes, following the release of minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve's last meeting.

He expects their earnings, which start being reported next week, to be encouraging for investors as they stick to or increase their dividend payouts.

"If Calgary starts to feel better I think the banks in general will get a bit of a kick to them also," he said.

Calgary is Canada's oil industry hub.   Continued...

A sign board displaying Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) stock information is seen in Toronto June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch