CANADA STOCKS-Energy, bank stocks lead TSX to lower close

Wed Aug 8, 2012 5:08pm EDT
 
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* Closes down 82.46 points, or 0.7 percent, at 11,781.04
    * Energy stocks, banks, miners weigh
    * BCE biggest positive influence after strong results
    * RIM gains on suggestions licensing deal coming
    * Air Canada tumbles as loss grows

    By Alastair Sharp
    TORONTO, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Canada's benchmark stock index
closed lower on Wednesday, weighed down by a drop in heavyweight
energy, financial and mining stocks that eclipsed a strong
showing from the country's largest telecom player, BCE Inc
.
    A slew of major companies posted declines of more than 1
percent, breaking a two-session rally that had pushed the index
to a one-month high.
    The rally was driven by hopes for central bank action to
tackle the euro zone debt crisis. But that early optimism has
started to fade. 
    "There is still enough concern out there that there are
ready sellers," said David Cockfield, a portfolio manager at
Northland Wealth Management. "It remains a market that is
looking over its shoulder all the time."
    Cockfield added that a stronger Canadian dollar did not help
local equities, as investors moved some investments into U.S.
markets which inched higher for a fourth day.  
    Energy and energy-related stocks played the biggest role of
any sector in leading the market lower.
    Among the heaviest weights were Suncor Energy, which
dipped 1.6 percent to C$31.73, T ransCanada Corp, which
slipped 2.3 percent to C$45.03, and Enbridge Inc, down
1.9 percent at C$39.25.
    Banks that contributed to the decline included Bank of Nova
Scotia, which fell 1.2 percent to C$51.97, Royal Bank
of Canada, down 1 percent at C$51.35, and Bank of
Montreal, which ended 1 percent lower at C$56.97.
Insurer Manulife Financial fell 2 percent to C$10.83.
    BCE Inc, the parent of Bell Canada and the
country's largest telecom company, played the biggest role of
any one stock in preventing the market from falling further. Its
shares gained 2.4 percent to C$44.30.
    Montreal-based BCE's second-quarter profit beat expectations
as growth in its wireless unit spurred the company to lift its
full-year earnings outlook and dividend payout. 
    "There is still a huge demand for yield and Bell will hit
that category," said Paul Hand, a managing director at RBC
Capital Markets.
    Research In Motion Ltd shares boosted the
technology sector. The stock rose 3.3 percent to C$7.56 a day
after an influential analyst suggested the BlackBerry maker
could revive talks to license its new operating system to
smartphone leader Samsung Electronics. 
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 closed down 82.46 points, or 0.7 percent, at
11,781.04. On Tuesday it had closed at its highest level since
July 4.
    Other movers included Air Canada, which fell 7.8
percent to C$1.06 after the country's largest airline posted a
wider quarterly loss and said labor disruptions and the closure
of its plane maintenance contractor crimped its operations.
 
    Shares of Silver Wheaton Corp rose 3.7 percent
while HudBay Minerals Inc slipped 1 percent on a deal
that will see Silver Wheaton help finance the development of
HudBay's Constancia mine in Peru in exchange for the right to
purchase precious metal byproducts from the base metal miner.
 
    Junior miner Endeavour Mining Corp said it would
buy Avion Gold Corp for C$389 million, sending its own
shares down 17 percent while pushing Avion's up 21 percent, yet
still below its offer price of 88 cents a share.