CANADA STOCKS-TSX slips after Yellen comments, Ukraine tensions

Fri Aug 22, 2014 11:01am EDT
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* TSX down 30.35 points, or 0.20 percent, at 15,525.74
    * Five of 10 main index sectors decline
    * Energy shares slip with oil price

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
slipped on Friday in a choppy market after U.S. Federal Reserve
Chair Janet Yellen called for a "pragmatic" approach that gives
the central bank the flexibility to determine next steps based
on evolving economic data.
    In a speech to policymakers, Yellen said that U.S. labor
markets remained hampered by the effects of the Great Recession
and the Fed should move cautiously in determining when interest
rates should rise. 
    Another factor playing into the market was worries about a
further escalation of tensions in Ukraine, which said Russia had
launched a "direct invasion" of its territory after Moscow sent
a convoy of aid trucks across the border. 
    The benchmark Canadian index has been climbing steadily in
recent months and is up about 14 percent since the start of the
year. It hit a record high earlier in the session on Friday
before pulling back.
    "Yellen has come out fairly middle-of-the-road. I don't
think she was quite as outright dovish as the Street would have
liked," said Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at CMC
Markets Canada.
    He said investors should expect increased levels of
volatility as the uncertainty about Fed policy continued and
geopolitical tensions weighed.
    "We may see markets struggle to find direction in the coming
sessions," he added. "You may see a lot of back-and-forth
trading as people tried to figure out what's going on."
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 was down 30.35 points, or 0.20 percent, at 15,525.74.
Five of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the red.
    Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector,
declined 0.3 percent, with Royal Bank of Canada falling
0.9 percent to C$80.92 and Toronto Dominion Bank losing
0.3 percent to C$57.73.
    Shares of energy producers slipped with the price of oil.
Canadian Natural Resources Ltd shed 0.4 percent to
C$46.25 and TransCanada Corp gave back 0.8 percent to
    Brent crude oil futures drifted further below $103 a barrel
as a strong dollar and plentiful supplies continued to pressure

 (Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)