CANADA STOCKS-TSX little changed as Loblaw surge offsets TD weakness
* TSX down 2.85 points, or 0.02 percent, at 12,154.44 * Five of 10 main sectors decline * TD down 2 pct on concerns about acquisition risk, results * Loblaw shares up 16 percent on REIT venture plans By John Tilak TORONTO, Dec 6 (Reuters) - Canadian stocks were little changed on Thursday as a 16-percent jump in Loblaw Cos Ltd on the grocer's plan to spin off its property holdings partly offset investor concerns about Toronto-Dominion Bank's latest U.S. acquisition and results. Loblaw, the country's largest grocer, said it would create one of Canada's largest real estate investment trusts to hold a significant part of its property assets and sell units through an initial public offering. The stock rose to C$38.92. "The market is probably right here about being enthusiastic," said John Ing, president of Maison Placements Canada. "It is a smart deal for them. This is a good way of utilizing an underutilized asset," he said of the company's plan to unlock the value of the prime real estate it owns across the country. Shares of Canadian Tire Corp, another owner of prime retail real estate, were up 3 percent at C$67.78. At midmorning, Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was down 2.85 points, or 0.02 percent, at 12,154.44. Five of the 10 main sectors on the index were trading lower. Toronto-Dominion said it is buying the owner of Epoch Investment Partners for $668 million in cash to expand its U.S. asset management business, while it reported a flat quarterly profit. Shares of the country's second-biggest bank were down 1.6 percent at C$81.31, playing the biggest role of any single stock in weighing on the market. Stock in the bank fell on worries about higher expenses and loan loss provisions, as well as added caution attached to its bid for Epoch. "TD is the culprit. The banking sector has been sluggish. There are headwinds, like slowing mortgages, slowing loans. 2013 is going to be a more difficult year for the banks, unless the economy picks up," Ing said.
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