CANADA STOCKS-TSX index hits 2-year high before closing lower

Mon Oct 28, 2013 4:57pm EDT
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* TSX closes down 27.58 points, or 0.21 percent, at 13,371.84

* Banks lead gains, while energy and railway stocks weigh

By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index closed lower on Monday after briefly reaching a two-year high, weighed down by several heavyweight energy and mining stocks as well as a retreat by the country's two main railways.

Offsetting those declines, the country's largest banks turned in another positive performance. Financial stocks have jumped in recent weeks as investors grew more confident that the U.S. Federal Reserve will stick with its monetary stimulus for longer.

"If you have an optimistic outlook for the North American economy, they (Canadian banks) are still attractively priced," said Barry Schwartz, a portfolio manager at Baskin Financial Services.

"We're in a slow growth but steady-as-she-goes economy and there will be pockets of fantastic strength and areas of weakness," he said, suggesting resource stocks could still struggle.

Some of the country's heavyweight mining and energy stocks slipped on the day, with Canadian Natural Resources off 1.9 percent at C$32.69 and Suncor Energy Inc down 0.5 percent at C$37.46. Energy stocks have risen some 13 percent from a trough in June.

The two main railways both slipped, with Canadian National Railway Co down 1 percent at C$114.03 and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd off 1.3 percent at C$148.17. The pair are still sharply higher than before they posted solid earnings results last week.   Continued...