CANADA STOCKS-TSX declines as energy, BMO shares drop

Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:45pm EST
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* TSX down 35.29 points, or 0.23 percent, at 15,164.97

* Six of the 10 main index sectors decline

* BMO slides after quarterly results

By John Tilak

TORONTO, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index fell on Tuesday as a decline in oil and gas shares and a drop in Bank of Montreal offset optimism spurred by comments by U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on monetary policy direction.

BMO shares shed 2 percent to C$75.83 after the lender posted a smaller-than-expected first-quarter profit, hurt by the impact of declining long-term interest rates on its insurance unit and lower investment and corporate banking revenues.

Investors also processed comments by Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz, who said last month's surprise interest rate cut bought the central bank time to see how the economy responds to a plunge in oil prices.

Yellen began testifying to U.S. lawmakers about plans for an eventual interest rate increase, saying the Fed was preparing to consider rate hikes "on a meeting by meeting basis".

"As expected, she left the door pretty open for all options in her testimony. She was neither dovish nor hawkish here," said Macan Nia, a director of capital markets and strategy at Manulife Asset Management.   Continued...