CANADA STOCKS-TSX eases as Greek vote looms, RIM drops

Thu Jun 14, 2012 5:23pm EDT
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* TSX falls 33.79 pts, or 0.29 pct, to 11,464.08
    * RIM falls 3.5 pct after latest board shuffle
    * Markets jittery ahead of Greek elections

    By Cameron French	
    TORONTO, June 14 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index fell
broadly on Thursday as investors took a cautious approach ahead
of Sunday's Greek election, and sold tech shares after Research
In Motion's latest board shuffle.	
     U.S. stocks jumped after news major central banks are
preparing coordinated action if the results of the Greek
election generate turmoil in financial markets, but the Toronto
market hedged its bets ahead of the vote, which could decide the
country's fate in the euro zone	
    Hopes that the U.S. Federal Reserve could signal more easy
money when it releases a policy statement next week also
prompted U.S. stocks to rise, but the Canadian market failed to
keep pace.	
    "I'm not sure that Toronto is breathing the same air as the
rest of the globe today," said Barry Schwartz, portfolio manager
at Baskin Financial Services.	
    Adding to Canadian market nervousness, the Bank of Canada
said the country's financial system remains highly vulnerable to
a further deepening of the European debt crisis. 	
    Eight of the 10 subgroups of the Toronto benchmark fell,
with the info tech sector leading the way with a 1.7 percent
decline, courtesy of Research In Motion's 3.5 percent
    The BlackBerry maker fell 39 Canadian cents to C$10.61 after
announcing a minor board shuffle as part of its effort to
reverse its tumbling market share..	
    "There seems to be disappointment at the limited change it
made to its board," said Fergal Smith, managing market
strategist at Action Economics in Toronto.	
    The consumer staples sector retreated by 1.2 percent on the
back of stocks such as cheesemaker Saputo Inc., down
2.0 percent at C$40.99, and grocer George Weston Ltd,
which fell 2.1 percent to C$57.66.	
    The only sectors to rise were health care, up 1.2 percent,
and energy, which rose less than 0.1 percent.	
    All told, the S&P/TSX composite index retreated
33.79 points, or 0.29 percent, to 11,464.08.	
    Worries over Spanish debt and the upcoming Greek vote have
led to up-and-down markets this week.	
    However, the main Canadian and U.S. indexes have stayed
largely within recent ranges, suggesting that big, but
short-lived, swings are the result of investor jitters, rather
than fundamental shifts in strategy, Smith said.	
    "They're both struggling to break out ahead of big risk
events in the coming days," he said.	
    Spain's 10-year bond yield rose to a record euro-era high on
Thursday following a three-notch downgrade in Spain's credit
rating by Moody's Investors Service late on Wednesday, which
took its rating to within one notch of "junk" status.
     Adding to the global uncertainty were weak U.S. jobless
claims figures on Thursday that showed the number of Americans
filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose
last week. 	
    Among individual movers, Canadian travel operator Transat AT
Inc plunged 36 Canadian cents, or 8.3 percent, to
C$4.00, after it posted a big quarterly loss on higher fuel
costs and stiff price competition.	
    Analysts said markets would remain volatile in the near
    "We have to wait until after the election in Greece on the
weekend," said Fred Ketchen, director of equity trading at
ScotiaMcLeod. "Spain still has its problems and who knows what's
going to happen to some of the other countries that are mixed up
in this whole sad state."