CANADA STOCKS-TSX falls on weaker railways, Spanish bank fears

Mon May 28, 2012 5:18pm EDT
 
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* TSX down 10.32 pts, or 0.1 pct, at 11,566.15
    * CP among top decliners as strike enters 6th day
    * Spanish bank woes rattle markets
    * China, Greek hopes help contain losses


    By Jon Cook	
    TORONTO, May 28 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
finished down for the first time in five sessions on Monday, as
declines by the country's two largest railways and fears about
Spain's shaky banking sector offset energy share gains due to
higher oil prices.	
    Analysts cautioned moves were exaggerated by thin trade due
to the Memorial Day holiday in the United States.	
    "It was a fairly listless day," said John Ing, president of
Maison Placements Canada. "You can't grasp anything significant
for some of these price moves."	
    Eight of Canada's 10 main sectors finished in the red.
Losses were led by the industrials group, due to a weak
performance by Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd and Canadian
National Railway.	
    CP shares fell more than 2 percent to C$75.52 as a strike by
4,800 locomotive engineers, conductors and railyard workers at
the railway entered its sixth day on Monday.	
    However, the end was near as the Canadian government
announced it will force striking workers back to work with
fast-track legislation aimed at restoring rail service by
Thursday. 	
    CN, which stood to benefit from a prolonged strike at its
biggest competitor, saw its shares slip 1.9 percent to C$81.95.	
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 closed down 10.32 points, or 0.1 percent, at
11,566.15.	
    Another drag came from Europe, where shares turned lower and
the euro slipped back toward two-year lows as a plan by Spain to
use public debt to revive one of its troubled banks pushed up
the premium investors demanded to hold the Madrid government's
bonds. 	
    "Greece is the sideshow, Spain is the real story," said
Barry Schwartz, vice president and portfolio manager at Baskin
Financial Services. "Spain will be the next one to get the
bailout and they need the help."	
    Despite being down for most of the day, Canadian financial
shares finished slightly higher. Top insurer Manulife Financial
 led gains, rising 2.3 percent to C$11.49. Banks were
led higher by Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, which
climbed 0.5 percent to C$70.39.	
    Royal Bank of Canada finished up 0.2 percent at
C$50.43, after the country's largest lender said it will
register a C$180 million ($175.57 million) boost to its
third-quarter results after resolving a tax dispute with Canada
Revenue Agency in the bank's favor. 	
    Markets were also helped by weekend Greek polls which showed
the conservative New Democracy party, a supporter of the bailout
plan, with a slight lead over the anti-bailout leftist SYRIZA
party, although analysts said the outcome of the June 17
election was still too close to call. 	
    Adding to the positive sentiment were hopes China may take
steps to boost its flagging economy. 	
    Oil and gas firms were up 0.5 percent, as U.S. crude oil
futures rose. 	
    Energy gains were paced by Pacific Rubiales, which
climbed 1.9 percent to C$27.28 and Canadian Oil Sands,
up 1.4 percent at C$20.97.	
    In other company news, shares of Research In Motion Ltd
 edged up 0.4 percent to C$11.39 even after the
BlackBerry maker announced its top lawyer has resigned, joining
a parade of long-time company executives to depart since
Thorsten Heins took over as CEO earlier this year.