CANADA STOCKS-TSX dips as uncertain trade outlook weighs

Thu Feb 2, 2017 4:58pm EST
 
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(Adds portfolio manager quotes, Trump's NAFTA comments, updates prices)

* TSX ends down 3.28 points, or 0.02 percent, at 15,399.11

* Six of the TSX's 10 main groups end lower

By Fergal Smith

TORONTO, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index edged slightly lower on Thursday as investors weighed a more uncertain trade outlook, with losses for the financial and telecom groups offsetting gains for resource shares.

U.S. President Donald Trump said he would like to speed up talks to either renegotiate or replace the North American Free Trade Agreement; Canada sends 75 percent of its exports to the United States.

"With valuations stretched in Canada ... any sort of negative news (on trade) would put the TSX (Toronto Stock Exchange) in a vulnerable state," said Youssef Zohny, portfolio manager at StennerZohny Investment Partners of Richardson GMP.

The S&P/TSX composite index has rallied 33.5 percent since hitting a 3-1/2 year low in January last year, helped by an agreement in November by major oil producers to cut output and the prospect of U.S. economic stimulus.

"A lot of optimism has built up in markets over the last few months, so they are definitely more vulnerable to a pullback from here," Zohny said.   Continued...