CANADA STOCKS-TSX slips as banks weigh; energy stocks bounce with oil

Thu Mar 24, 2016 4:45pm EDT
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(Adds strategist comment, updates prices to close)

* TSX ends down 21.37 points, or 0.16 percent, at 13,358.11

* Seven of the TSX's 10 main groups fell

By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO, March 24 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index fell to a two-week low on Thursday before paring some losses, as bank stocks retreated amid rising chatter from U.S. central bankers about hiking interest rates and as a recovery in oil prices helped energy stocks.

Another U.S. interest rate hike "may not be far off," St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said on Thursday, the latest Fed official to speak in support of rate hikes this year after the Fed stood pat last week.

"That's caused the market to pull back a bit," said Allan Small, a senior investment advisor at HollisWealth.

But while the Canadian index ended in the red, it pared much of its early losses on a recovery in the price of oil after a renewed drop in U.S. oil rigs.

"The reversal coincided with the rig count in the U.S. that came out," Small said. "That's helped; the price of oil has come back a little bit and so have some markets."   Continued...