CANADA STOCKS-TSX finishes lower as oils, Manulife weigh

Thu Nov 19, 2009 5:15pm EST
 
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 * TSX ends down 52.39 points at 11,600.30
 * Manulife drops 6.1 pct on news of C$2.5 bln offering
 * Lower close snaps four-sessions of gains
 (Adds details and quotes)
 By Jennifer Kwan
 TORONTO, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
skidded on Thursday as oil prices dropped and Manulife
Financial (MFC.TO: Quote) rattled investors by announcing a surprise,
C$2.5 billion stock offering.
 Manulife fell 6.1 percent to C$18.95, topping the list of
declining issues. Late Wednesday, North America's biggest life
insurer acknowledged its huge equity issue would dilute its
earnings per share and return on equity. [ID:nN191454]
 "It was an unexpectedly large issue and it took the market
by surprise," said Lex Kerkovius, senior research analyst at
McLean & Partners Wealth Management Ltd in Calgary.
 The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished down 52.39
points, or 0.45 percent, at 11,600.30, with eight of its 10
main groups lower. The drop ended four sessions of gains for
the index.
 Among energy issues, EnCana Corp (ECA.TO: Quote) dropped 2 percent
to C$56.67, and Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote) slid 0.8 percent to
C$38.25. Oil prices fell partly on weaker U.S. economic news
that stirred concerns about energy demand in Canada's largest
trading partner.
 "The economic news has generally been a bit weaker in the
last 24 hours, particularly on the U.S. housing front,"
Kerkovius said.
 A record one-in-seven U.S. mortgages were in foreclosure or
at least one payment past due in the third quarter, according
to industry data that raised questions about a recovery in the
housing market. [ID:nN19370650]
 The pullback by Toronto stocks came after the
resource-heavy TSX rose to a 13-month high earlier this week.
Investors were pausing in hopes of getting a clearer picture on
the economy in coming sessions, said Paul Harris, portfolio
manager at Avenue Investment Management.
 The TSX financial sector finished the day down 1.1 percent,
with shares of some banks sliding. Toronto-Dominion Bank
(TD.TO: Quote) fell 0.7 percent to C$67.81, while Royal Bank of Canada
(RY.TO: Quote) fell 0.78 percent to C$57.55.
 The blue chip S&P/TSX 60 index  closed 2.83 points
lower, or 0.41 percent, at 690.58.
 ($1=$1.06 Canadian)
 (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; Editing by Frank McGurty)