November 6, 2015 / 1:01 PM / 3 years ago

TSX hurt by commodity losses, boosted by insurers

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index was torn between losses for energy and mining stocks and gains for financial names on Friday, with both moves magnified by a surge in U.S. jobs that made it more likely the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates in December.

A man walks past an old Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) sign in Toronto, June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

The employment report pushed the greenback .DXY to a seven-month high, which in turned weighed on a string of commodities and the Canadian companies that extract, drill, produce and move them.

The materials group, which includes miners, fell 1.4 percent. Goldcorp Inc (G.TO) fell 4.2 percent to C$15.34, while Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) lost 3.3 percent to C$9.38 as the price of bullion XAU= fell to a three-month low.

TransCanada (TRP.TO) closed down 4.3 percent at C$43.32 after U.S. President Barack Obama rejected the company’s proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline after more than seven years of often rancorous debate.

“We are shocked that there was any value of Keystone left in TransCanada,” said Norman Levine, managing director at Portfolio Management Corp.

Fellow pipeline company Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO) fell 2.2 percent to C$51.74 a day after saying a delay in starting up a crude pipeline between Ontario and Quebec would hurt its earnings.

The broader energy group fell 0.6 percent, while U.S. crude CLc1 settled 2 percent lower. [O/R]

Levine said the pipelines, along with other rate-sensitive groups such as utilities and telecoms, were also pressured by the prospects of higher interest rates, which makes them less attractive for investors in search of dividend yields.

The prospect of higher rates boosted insurers, which rely heavily on holdings of government debt they hold to maturity.

Manulife Financial Corp (MFC.TO) jumped 3.7 percent to C$22.36 and Sun Life Financial (SLF.TO) added 2.7 percent to C$45.04.

The overall financials groups added 0.9 percent.

“Rate hikes, other than one-day overreactions, are good for stock markets,” said Norman Levine, managing director at Portfolio Management Corp. “It signals economies are doing better, which leads to better corporate profits.”

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closes down 5.48 points, or 0.04 percent, at 13,553.30. It gained 0.2 percent for the week.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc VRX.TO rallied 5.6 percent to C$109.19.

The company said on Friday that Goldman Sachs sold 1.3 million shares of Valeant on Thursday, a day when the stock fell as much as 20 percent, to secure loans made to its CEO Michael Pearson.

Sierra Wireless Inc (SW.TO) slumped 22.7 percent to C$25.51 after its earnings missed analyst expectations.

Additional reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by James Dalgleish

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