CANADA STOCKS-Financials lead TSX lower on US budget worry, RIM rallies
* TSX down 47.61 points, or 0.38 percent, at 12,322.19 * Eight of 10 sectors lower; financials, energy weigh By Julie Gordon TORONTO, Dec 27 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index fell on Thursday, weighed down by financial and energy stocks as new comments on U.S. budget talks sparked worries that a deal might not be reached and potentially plunge the United States into a recession. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid warned that the country is poised to go off the so-called "fiscal cliff" if squabbling politicians do not reach a deal. The combination of tax hikes and spending cuts is slated to start taking effect next week if no compromise is reached. "The market hates uncertainty," said Paul Hand, managing director at RBC Capital Markets. "And that's what this is. They'd almost prefer a bad outcome than no outcome." Hand noted that volume was very thin on Thursday as equity markets reopened after a two-day holiday for Christmas and Boxing Day. At 11:21 a.m. (1621 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange was down 47.61 points, or 0.38 percent, at 12,322.19. Eight of the 10 sectors were lower, with financials and energy weighing. The financial sector was the biggest drag, falling 0.85 percent, as economic worries put pressure on the bank-heavy group. The Royal Bank of Canada and Toronto Dominion Bank were the two top decliners, falling 1 percent to C$59.76 and 1.18 percent to C$83 respectively. The energy sector also dragged, dropping 0.54 percent as oil and gas producer Canadian Natural Resources Ltd fell 1.32 percent to C$28.51 and pipeline company Enbridge Inc slid 0.45 percent to C$42.36. Oil prices eased on Thursday in choppy trade, pulling back from Wednesday's gains, when Canada's equity markets were closed for the Boxing Day holiday. "Investors in commodities flip flop like a hot potato," said Barry Schwartz, vice president and portfolio manager at Baskin Financial Services. "They love to be in them when they're going up, but when you're worried about China, when you're worried about growth, when you're worried about modern economic impacts, then you don't want to be in these names." While energy dragged, the materials sector, home to mining companies, rose 1.04 percent, led higher by the gold miners. Barrick Gold Corp, the world's top gold producer, rose 2.6 percent to C$34.38, while Goldcorp Inc climbed 1.8 percent to C$36.17. Also bucking the downward trend was Research in Motion , which climbed 9.3 percent to C$11.50, as the volatile BlackBerry-maker recovered from a 20 percent plunge last week.
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