CANADA STOCKS-TSX skids as Japan disaster hits insurers, energy

Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:55pm EDT
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   * TSX ends down 55.06 points at 13,619.19
 * Materials, energy, financials all weaker
 * Cameco tumbles 13 pct, Uranium One sinks 28 percent
 * Insurers drag on financials, Manulife off 3.5 percent
 * Lumber producers rise on Japan reconstruction hopes
 (Adds forest-products companies)
 By Claire Sibonney
 TORONTO, March 14 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
ended modestly lower on Monday, led down by weaker energy
producers, insurers and miners on worries about the impact of
the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
 Japanese engineers raced to prevent a meltdown at a
stricken nuclear plant, as rescuers scrambled to help millions
left without food, water or heating in the wake of the
disaster. [ID:nLDE72D2FT]
 Shares of Cameco Corp (CCO.TO: Quote), the world's second largest
uranium miner, plunged 13 percent to C$31.70. Uranium One
UUU.TO sank 28 percent to C$4.31 and Paladin Energy (PDN.AX: Quote)
sold off 21 percent to C$3.67. [ID:nN14135943]
 "This does cause some potential buyers to question ... the
safety of nuclear as part of the overall energy cocktail," said
Paul Taylor, chief investment officer at BMO Harris Investment
 "Obviously we do not know the extent to which the issues in
Japan will accelerate, but certainly this doesn't bode well for
the demand for nuclear."
 Energy and base-metal shares slipped 0.2 percent and 2
percent respectively, despite stabilizing commodity prices.
[O/R] [MET/L]
 Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote) fell 0.5 percent to C$42.09 and Teck
Resources TCKb.TO -- under additional pressure after it
trimmed its first-quarter coal sales forecast -- tumbled 2.7
percent to C$49.56.  [ID:nN14132991]
 "The market has to price in multiple exogenous shocks,"
said Stephen Wood, chief investment strategist for Russell
Investments in New York, referring to the geopolitical turmoil
in North Africa and the Middle East and the broader market
pullback prior to the devastating tsunami and earthquake in
 The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
.GSPTSE ended down 55.06 points, or 0.4 percent, at
13,619.19. Seven of the 10 main sectors were lower.
 "Most people felt the that the S&P/TSX was overbought and
this is a healthy chance for reflection after the very strong
economic data, very strong earnings data," added Taylor.
 "Throw in a natural disaster and some significant
geopolitical tension and you have the backdrop for a bit of a
market setback until we decide what the next move upward is."
 Financials were flat but insurers were hit by some of their
reinsurance exposure in Japan, as well as weaker equity markets
in general, said Taylor. Manulife Financial (MFC.TO: Quote) fell 3.5
percent to C$16.74, while Sun Life Financial (SLF.TO: Quote) was down
0.5 percent at C$30.16. [ID:nN14193961]
 "Everybody who is human is just standing in awe of the
human tragedy ... I think that's probably the first response,
added Wood.
 He said the short-term impact would likely remain negative,
but in the longer term, the rebuilding effort could be
stimulative for overall demand in Japan.
 Forest-products producers appeared to already be benefiting
from reconstruction hopes. International Forest Products
IFPa.TO shot up 8.3 percent to C$6.50, West Fraser Timber
(WFT.TO: Quote) advanced 4.7 percent to C$53.22 and Canfor Corp
(CFP.TO: Quote) added 3.3 percent to C$13.50.
 ($1=$0.97 Canadian)
 (Reporting by Claire Sibonney; editing by Rob Wilson)