TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index ended slightly lower on Friday but many energy stocks gained as crude prices rose on the possibility of Russian supply disruptions, while retailers benefited after regulatory approval for a major takeover in the sector.
The otherwise broad decline capped weekly gains at 0.75 percent in cautious end-of-week trade.
“Energy stocks have been the focus really since the Russian annexation” of Crimea, said John Ing, president of Maison Placements Canada.
Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) jumped 2 percent to C$30.55 and Talisman Energy Inc TLM.TO gained 1.4 percent to C$11.34, as fresh Western sanctions on Russia renewed fears of a supply disruption from the world’s second-largest oil producer. <O/R>
Investors took some solace earlier from domestic data that showed February inflation within the central bank’s target range and retail sales that bounced back in January.
“It’s a sigh of relief on the inflation and retail numbers, which were a little higher,” said Irwin Michael, portfolio manager at ABC Funds, of a minor morning rally.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended the session down 26.07 points, or 0.18 percent, at 14,335.76.
Heavyweight banks and railways that had risen earlier in the week pared those gains to provide much of the weight.
“Gold is trying to mount a rally, it was a muted rally,” Maison’s Ing said.
Diversified miner Teck Resources TCKb.TO notched up a 3.1 percent gain to C$23.68.
Goldcorp and other gold miners had dipped earlier in the week as anxiety eased over the Ukraine crisis, which had added to gold’s safe-haven appeal.
Grocery store chain Loblaw Cos Ltd (L.TO) jumped 1.7 percent to C$47.01 after a competition watchdog approved its C$12.4 billion ($11 billion) bid for pharmacy chain Shoppers Drug Mart Corp SC.TO. <ID:L2N0MI0PJ>
Shares in Shoppers rose 0.9 percent to C$61.18.
Pacific Rubiales Energy Corp PRE.TO gained 5.5 percent to C$19.09. Bloomberg cited unnamed sources as saying the Latin American oil producer was considering its strategic options.
Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by James Dalgleish and Sophie Hares