CANADA STOCKS-Energy stocks weigh on TSX; oil driller's shares slump

Fri Apr 25, 2014 5:13pm EDT
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(Adds portfolio manager comment, updates prices to close)
    * TSX ends down 20.68 points, or 0.14 percent, at 14,533.57
    * Canadian Oil Sands falls after unexpected maintenance
    * Open Text up after results, dividend increase

    By Alastair Sharp
    TORONTO, April 25 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
slipped on Friday, with energy companies among the leading
weights as driller Canadian Oil Sands said unexpected
maintenance could hurt its output.
    The energy sector in Canada has performed well in recent
weeks, seemingly boosted by the geopolitical tensions in Ukraine
that could limit the availability of Russian commodity exports
to Western markets.
    But the threat of further escalation has also provoked a
more cautious approach among investors.
    "The overall scare of the conflict is really weighing on the
market," said Marcus Xu, a portfolio manager at MY Capital
Management Corp in Vancouver.
    "It's hard to satisfy the market at the moment," he added.
"Expectations have been pretty high. But the Canadian market
seems to be holding up pretty well."
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 ended the day down 20.68 points, or 0.14 percent, at
14,533.57. Eight of the 10 main index sectors ended lower, but
the index posted a gain on the week of 0.2 percent.
    The broad decline would have had a greater impact on the
index if not for the jump in shares of business software company
OpenText, which gained 6.5 percent to C$54.11 after
reporting a solid quarterly profit and increasing its dividend.
    On the other side of the ledger, Canadian Oil Sands shares
fell 3.6 percent to C$23.25 after reporting it cut its projected
annual output owing to the upkeep. It said it would also revise
overall 2014 guidance at the end of the month. 
    "The fact is it goes with the territory with this stock.
People shouldn't get too excited about it," said Gavin Graham,
chief strategy officer at Integris Pension Management Corp.
    Canadian Natural Resources also slipped, down 0.8
percent to end at C$44.65, and Encana Corp was off 1.5
percent at C$24.99.
    Graham said many of Canada's biggest resource stocks had
appreciated significantly - the sub-index was up 20
percent since the start of February - and that some
profit-taking was inevitable.
    Global oil prices fell from recent highs but escalating
tension between major oil producer Russia and the West over
Ukraine served to heighten fears of supply disruption that put a
floor under declines. 
    "Political uncertainty is not good for stock markets in
general in the short term," Graham said. "Longer term however it
might actually be good news for Canada because it's got a lot of
the same materials and commodities that Russia has and it's a
reliable supplier."
    Barrick Gold Corp and Goldcorp Inc bounced
off Thursday's dips as the price of bullion recovered, with
Barrick up 2.6 percent at C$19.74 and Goldcorp rising 1.3
percent to C$27.43.
    Barrick's founder and outgoing chairman, Peter Munk,
criticized potential takeover target Newmont Mining in
an interview with the National Post newspaper, saying the U.S.
miner is "not shareholder-friendly." 
    Talks between the pair broke down last week, but sources
familiar with the matter said some talks between lower-level
representatives have since resumed. 

 (Additional reporting by Solarina Ho; editing by G Crosse,
Chizu Nomiyama and W Simon)