TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index fell slightly on Friday as unexpectedly sluggish jobs data and worries about escalating tensions in Ukraine spurred declines in the energy and financial sectors.
Investors followed news that President Vladimir Putin flew in to Crimea for parades marking the Soviet victory in World War Two, while eight people were reported killed in Ukraine.
Government data showed that the Canadian economy lost 28,900 jobs in April, indicating across-the-board weakness and suggesting economic growth has not been gathering the speed that was expected in the second quarter.
The energy sector, one of the strongest performers this year, declined for a second straight session. It is up about 12 percent this year.
The broader Toronto market gave back 1.6 percent this week, following gains in the previous three.
“It’s a cause for some concern when the markets go up relentlessly week after week,” said Elvis Picardo, strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver, who views this decline as a welcome reality check.
“Market sentiment has been fragile and wobbly in recent weeks,” he added. “It’s the reluctance of investors to hold on to winning positions in an uncertain market rather than anything else.”
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE unofficially closed down 11.97 points, or 0.08 percent, at 14,534.06. Six of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the red.
Financials, the index’s most heavily weighted sector, declined 0.2 percent. Manulife Financial Corp (MFC.TO) shed 1 percent to C$20.31, and Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) was down 0.2 percent at C$73.09.
Shares of energy companies lost 0.6 percent, with Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO) dropping 0.6 percent to C$52.35.
But the materials sector, which includes mining stocks, advanced. Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) jumped 1.1 percent to C$18.79, and Goldcorp Inc G.TO added 0.4 percent to C$27.09.
In corporate news, TMX Group Ltd (X.TO), the operator of the Toronto Stock Exchange, reported a 23 percent rise in first-quarter profit. The stock gave back 0.6 percent to C$57.79.
Editing by W Simon and Matthew Lewis