CANADA STOCKS-TSX declines on Ukraine concerns, drop in bank shares

Fri Aug 29, 2014 10:45am EDT
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* TSX down 38.12 points, or 0.25 percent, at 15,520.05
    * Eight of 10 main index sectors decline
    * Suncor, Canadian Natural slip with oil price

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Aug 29 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
dropped on Friday as worries about increasing tensions in
Ukraine and weakness in the financial sector offset positive
economic data.
    Government data showed the Canadian economy recorded
better-than-expected growth, to an annualized 3.1 percent in the
second quarter, from a downwardly revised 0.9 percent in the
first quarter. 
    Investors looked for clarity about Ukraine's response to an
offer from Russia about opening up a "humanitarian corridor" to
allow the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops they have encircled.
    Despite Friday's weakness, the benchmark TSX looked on track
to record weekly and monthly gains. It is up about 14 percent
this year.
    Investors are not taking the geopolitical concerns seriously
enough, said Matt Skipp, president of SW8 Asset Management. "The
consensus trade seems to be, 'I can buy equities with immunity
because the economy is improving and rates are staying
    "I would argue that you're at risk of a geopolitical event,
whether it is Ukraine or the Middle East, that could have dire
consequences for the global economy," he added.
    The Canadian market is "extremely interest-rate sensitive"
because of the high levels of consumer debt, Skipp said.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 was down 38.12 points, or 0.25 percent, at 15,520.05.
Eight of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the red.
    Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, gave
back 0.6 percent, with Toronto Dominion Bank shedding
1.2 percent to C$56.69 and Royal Bank of Canada losing
0.4 percent to C$80.20.
    While most of the major Canadian banks reported solid
results earlier this week, fund managers said investors were
booking profits after shares in the sector had a strong run
ahead of the earnings season.
    Shares of energy producers reflected higher oil prices.
Suncor Energy Inc added 0.5 percent to C$44.44, and
Canadian Natural Resources Ltd advanced 0.3 percent to

 (Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)