July 20, 2012 / 12:38 PM / in 5 years

TSX rally fizzles on Spanish debt fears

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian stocks fell for the first time in more than a week on Friday, led lower by energy and financial shares, as oil slid and risk sentiment soured on worries that Spain would require a full-blown bailout.

People walk past an electronic board displaying the midday TSX index in Toronto February 16, 2011. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Spain’s main stock index suffered its biggest one-day drop in two years, and the risk premium on government debt hit a euro-era high at 7.32 percent after Spain’s heavily indebted Valencia region asked for financial aid. <MKTS/GLOB>

“Europe continues to be dragged down by a lack of a solution,” said Rick Meslin, head of Canadian equities at UBS Securities Canada.

Seven of Canada’s 10 main sectors were lower. The powerhouse financial services subindex led declines, sliding 0.6 percent on the shaky euro zone outlook.

Losses were sharpest among the major banks, with Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) falling 0.5 percent to C$52.41, Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) down 0.9 percent at C$52.15, and Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) slipping 0.6 percent to C$80.

The heavily-weighted oil and gas patch fell 0.5 percent as U.S. August crude eased after hitting a two-month high on Thursday. <O/R>

Energy declines were led by Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO), which dropped 1.2 percent to C$32.54, Talisman Energy TLM.TO, off 1.9 percent at C$11.05, and Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO), which edged down 0.7 percent to C$28.79.

The Canadian market has recently been boosted by a rebound in U.S. oil prices, which have risen steadily since falling below $80 a barrel last month.

However, Meslin cautioned that gains have been exaggerated by weak summer volumes.

“The market will rally on low volume, but then any kind of news that doesn’t support or further the momentum is what you get today,” he added.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished down 42.79 points, or 0.4 percent, at 11,622.91. Despite the loss, the index was still up 0.9 percent for the week.

The materials group, which includes miners, finished flat as gains from gold and fertilizer producers offset copper mining losses. Goldcorp (G.TO) climbed 1.3 percent to C$34.04 and Potash Corp (POT.TO) edged up 0.6 percent to C$46.01. Meanwhile, Canada’s top copper miner, Teck Resources TCKb.TO, fell 2.1 percent to C$30.59.

“The medium-term trend is for lower commodity prices and it will be until the worldwide economic situation is sorted out,” said Brendan Caldwell, president and chief executive of Caldwell Investment Management Ltd.

In earnings news, shares of West Fraser Timber Co Ltd (WFT.TO) jumped 5 percent to C$53.50 a day after the lumber company reported a second-quarter profit, on high lumber prices and strong demand from Asia.

Editing by Diane Craft

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