TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index finished lower on Monday as investors took some profits after a four-session gain, while lower commodity prices on persistent fears that Greece will not be able to avoid a messy debt default also weighed.
The index’s key materials and energy sectors led the decline, falling 0.5 percent and 0.1 percent respectively as oil and gold prices dropped on the continued lack of progress in Greece’s debt talks. <O/R>
Canadian Natural Resources CNQ.TO, the biggest heavyweight decliner, shed 1.4 percent to C$40.28, while fellow oil company Cenovus CVE.TO fell 1.8 percent to C$38.11. Diversified miner Teck Resources TCKb.TO lost 2.1 percent to C$42.50.
“I think the big picture is this is a minor bout of profit-taking after the stellar run that you had since the beginning of the year,” said Elvis Picardo, strategist and vice president of research at Global Securities in Vancouver, referring to the index’s 4.2 percent rally in January.
“There’s a little bit of concern about the Greek situation, but it’s by no means an overreaching or huge concern at this point,” he said.
“You’d know (if) it was a bigger issue simply by market action. We saw on numerous occasions in the second half of 2011 that anything negative emanating from Europe would send the markets down by hundreds of points. At this point the reaction is very muted.”
Greek political leaders had still not agreed on Monday to accept deeply unpopular public wage cuts and other painful measures that international lenders are demanding as a condition of a second Greek bailout. Athens needs to secure a bailout to avoid a disorderly default.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished the day down 17.43 points, or 0.14 percent, at 12,559.85. Six of the index’s 10 main sectors were lower.
Reporting By Jennifer Kwan; Editing by Peter Galloway