CANADA STOCKS-TSX tracking lower as commodity stocks weigh
* TSX down 22.9 points, or 0.2 percent, at 11,986.42 * Global uncertainty hurts miners, energy companies * Banks continue ascent in earnings week By Alastair Sharp TORONTO, Aug 29 (Reuters) - The main Canadian equity index slipped on Wednesday as resource stocks sensitive to uncertainty on global growth weighed while the country's biggest banks again pushed higher. The U.S. economy fared slightly better than initially thought in the second quarter, clouding the prospect of strong language from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke supporting more monetary easing at a meeting of global central bankers later this week. Meanwhile, European leaders continue to wrangle over the best way to contain the region's debt crisis. "We have to see more than just verbal action out of Europe. Portfolio managers are coming back from vacation and they're getting nervous," said Pat McHugh, Canadian equity strategist at Manulife Asset Management. By 10:45 a.m. (1445 GMT) the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was down 22.9 points, or 0.2 percent, at 11,986.42. The decline was led by miners and energy companies, which rely on robust global appetite for commodities. Barrick Gold Corp was the heaviest weight, down 1 percent to C$36.73, while Suncor Energy Inc also dragged the index down, off 0.8 percent at C$31.23. Bullion prices eased, oil was steady and copper fell as investors worried about global growth and waited for signs from Fed chief Ben Bernanke that the central bank would ease policy. He is due to speak at a meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on Friday. But banks again supported the index, taking the top four spots in a list of most positive influences. On Tuesday, Bank of Nova Scotia and Bank of Montreal posted stronger-than-expected quarterly profits and raised their dividends, even as signs emerged that core consumer lending was slowing after years of robust growth. Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto Dominion Bank and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce all report on Wednesday. Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc jumped 3.5 percent to C$26.30 after BMO Capital Markets raised it to the equivalent of a "buy" rating from a "hold". The company this month sold its U.S. fixed annuities business in a move seen improving its capital levels. Shareholders in Canada's Progress Energy Resources Corp have approved a takeover bid from Malaysia's state oil company Petronas at C$22.00 a share, or near C$6 billion ($6.09 billion) including debt, Progress said. The shares had already jumped to near that price tag after Petronas made the offer. The deal is likely to be closely scrutinized by Canadian regulators. Ottawa said it is formally reviewing another Asian takeover deal for a Canadian resource company, the $15.1 billion bid for oil firm Nexen Inc from Chinese state-owned oil company CNOOC Ltd.
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