CANADA STOCKS-TSX edges lower as oil slip hurts energy companies

Mon Dec 22, 2014 4:42pm EST
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(Adds investor comment, updates prices to close)

By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO Dec 22 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index slipped on Monday as most energy companies fell on oil's downward march, with the retreat muted by gains for some of the country's biggest banks and its main railways.

The tumbling price of crude, its value almost halved since June, has stung Canada's large energy sector, but could ultimately help boost the broader economy as consumers and businesses save money at the pump that can be spent elsewhere.

"In the long haul, it probably puts us on a higher trajectory because there will be a boost of discretionary income that can go into spending and consumption," said Rick Hutcheon, president and chief operating officer at RKH Investments.

Oil and gas stocks have fallen sharply in recent weeks, but most ticked higher last week after one among them, Talisman Energy Inc, was acquired by oil major Repsol.

"I think the energy stocks are higher than where they probably should be," said Norman Levine, managing director at Portfolio Management Corp. "Last week as soon as the bid for Talisman was announced, they all jumped up as though they were all going to get taken over."

Crude fell on Monday as Saudi Arabia made clear it would not limit its production in order to prod prices higher.

Canadian Natural Resources was off 1.6 percent at C$36.04 and Encana Corp fell 4.2 percent to C$15.72.   Continued...