CANADA STOCKS-TSX edges lower as banks weigh

Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:03pm EST
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   * TSX drops 8.18 points, or 0.06 percent, at 13,193.28
 * Seven of the 10 main groups were higher
 (Updates to close, adds details, comments)
 By Solarina Ho
 TORONTO, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
closed lower on Monday on profit-taking among hefty financial
stocks as worries about Europe's sovereign debt intensified.
 Financial stocks ended 1 percent lower and led seven of the
index's 10 main sectors into negative territory. Four of the
Canada's big banks fell. Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO: Quote) was the
weightiest decliner, down 2.33 percent at C$70.52. Royal Bank
of Canada (RY.TO: Quote) followed, dropping 1.4 percent to C$50.78,
while Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO: Quote) gave back 2.41 percent to
C$56.60. Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO: Quote) eased 0.92 percent to
 "This smacks of last-minute profit-taking. We are very
close to the year-end," said Elvis Picardo, an analyst and
strategist at Global Securities.
 Continuing fears of more ratings downgrades for indebted
euro zone countries and banks also weighed on the sector.
 The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
.GSPTSE closed down 8.18 points, or 0.06 percent, at
13,193.28. After spending the day in positive territory, the
index began to slip 30 minutes before the close, turning
negative at the close.
 Moody's Investors Service said it may cut the ratings on
Spanish banks following its multi-notch downgrade of Ireland's
credit rating last week, while speculation has risen that
France and Belgium may also face cuts. [ID:nLDE6BJ1G1]
 "That issue is something that's been coming up off and on
for the last few months now," Picardo said. "There's really no
sense of panic, but it's an issue that's very much front and
center for most investors and it does have the tendency to
affect the financial sector more than anything else."
 The lone advancing groups were the energy and materials
heavyweights. The technology sector finished flat.
 Energy stocks were up 0.79 percent. Talisman Energy
TLM.TO was the most influential mover, jumping 4.79 percent
to C$21.89. South Africa's Sasol said on Monday it will pay
C$1.05 billion for a stake in one of Talisman's share gas
properties. [ID:nLDE6BJ04G]
 Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote) gained 0.94 percent to C$36.64.
 "The price of oil was up, gas was up, the cold weather
everywhere is having an impact," said John Ing, president of
Maison Placements Canada.
 Oil price gains were tempered by a stronger U.S. dollar and
the euro zone debt concerns. [O/R]
 ($1=$1.02 Canadian)
 (Reporting by Solarina Ho; editing by Peter Galloway)