TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index edged lower on Tuesday as consumer, industrial and materials stocks weakened, while energy stocks rose despite weaker crude oil prices.
The index fell for a fifth straight session, but after paring the worst of losses. It follows an 11 percent loss in 2015, its worst year since the global financial crisis of 2008.
"It's a cautious start to the year," said Brian Pow, vice president, research at Acumen Capital Partners in Calgary, adding "the volumes in certain stocks are still pretty light"
Magna International Inc (MG.TO) declined 2.4 percent to C$54.35, while the overall consumer discretionary sector fell 1.2 percent.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 7.01 points, or 0.05 percent, to 12,920.14. Six of the index's 10 main groups were in negative territory.
"People are trying to look for new ideas," said Pow, including reallocation of capital out of energy into other growth areas.
Nonetheless, energy stocks closed 0.6 percent higher, revealing resilience in the face of weaker crude oil prices.
Canadian Oil Sands Ltd COS.TO rose 1.9 percent to C$8.05. A major investor in the company sent an open letter to fellow shareholders urging them to reject a C$4.3 billion ($3.1 billion) hostile takeover bid by Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO) that expires this Friday.
U.S. crude CLc1 prices settled at $35.97 a barrel, down 2.2 percent. [O/R]
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (VRX.TO) rose 2.8 percent to C$141.16, recovering after an activist investor last week said he had sold five million shares of the company to generate a tax loss.
Telecom stocks rose 1.1 percent, including a 2.1 percent advance in Rogers Communications Inc (RCIb.TO) to C$48.85.
"If people are looking for income, some of these (telecom)stocks that have got beat up provide pretty interesting returns," said Pow.
Shares of Progressive Waste Solutions BIN.TO advanced 7.3 percent to C$34.76 after the waste management company said it was exploring strategic options.
Additional reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and James Dalgleish