September 5, 2014 / 11:24 AM / 4 years ago

TSX steady as financials-led retreat offsets resource gains

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index finished Friday’s session little changed, as modest, but broad, declines led by financial stocks, offset resource gains and investors kept to the sidelines.

A sign board displaying Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) stock information is seen in Toronto June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Financial stocks, the most influential group on the index, were down 0.4 percent, with four of the top five decliners falling into the sector. Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) was off 0.52 percent at C$57.48, while Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) slipped 0.4 percent to C$80.76.

A disappointing jobs report tempered investor sentiment, with data showing the Canadian economy unexpectedly shed 11,000 jobs last month.

“This is the first week back from the holiday season, and people are trying to assess the overall economic environment,” said Paul Harris, portfolio manager at Avenue Investment Management. “I think the market is also trying to digest a lot of things happening around the world.”

Shares of Manulife Financial (MFC.TO) were down for a second day in a row after the company said it had agreed to buy Standard Life’s Canadian operations.

Manulife was down 0.6 percent at C$21.92 and has lost more than 2 percent since the deal was announced.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished the session down 6.87 points, or 0.04 percent, at 15,569.92. The index dipped 0.4 percent on the week.

Seven of the index’s 10 main groups fell during the session.

Some expect the directionless market to be temporary.

“I think we’re still in an uptrend; the markets have been pretty strong all year,” said John Kinsey, portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities Ltd in Toronto.

On the upside, a 0.2 percent gain by the materials group and a 0.1 percent gain by energy companies helped stem some of the losses.

TransCanada Corp (TRP.TO) was up 1.02 percent at C$60.33, while Franco-Nevada Corp (FNV.TO), which provides financing to gold miners, was up 1.9 percent at C$60.57.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc VRX.TO, embroiled in a $50 billion hostile takeover fight involving Allergan Inc (AGN.N), was up 2 percent at C$130.16, helping the healthcare group finish 1.1 percent higher.

Additional reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Jonathan Oatis

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