* TSX closes down 33.4 points, or 0.3 percent, at 12,048.82
* Several commodity stocks among biggest decliners
* RIM rises on Apple-Samsung court case fallout
By Alastair Sharp
TORONTO, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Canada’s main equity index fell on Monday as investors pulled back from commodity stocks, but Research In Motion jumped on hopes that it will benefit from a crucial legal victory for Apple Inc over Samsung in a patent dispute.
A U.S. jury awarded the iPhone maker more than $1 billion in damages after finding the South Korean company had copied some critical features from it, a verdict which could lead to bans on Samsung products that use Google’s Android software.
“It knocks Android sideways. If you viewed RIM as a third player in a three-way fight with Apple and Android...this potentially allows RIM to capture some market share,” said David Baskin, portfolio manager and president of Baskin Financial Services.
The BlackBerry maker - which has hemorrhaged market share to both Apple and Google over the past several years - gained 1.9 percent to C$7.01.
Also helping to brake the benchmark index’s fall was Talisman Energy Inc, which jumped 3.5 percent to C$14.03 on what Baskin described as market chatter about possible Chinese interest in the oil and gas producer.
But several other commodity-related shares sank as nervousness grew over the outlook for central bank stimulus measures as several key events approach. The top three heavyweight decliners were oil producer Canadian Natural Resources, gold miner Goldcorp, and fertilizer producer Potash Corp.
U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will speak to central bankers at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on Friday, and the European Central Bank will meet on Sept. 6. Optimism about central bank moves has helped stock markets rally in recent weeks.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index closed down 33.4 points, or 0.3 percent, at 12,048.82 after opening in positive territory.
Trade was subdued, with preliminary Reuters data indicating that less than 100 million shares changed hands.
Pipeline company Enbridge Inc dipped 0.9 percent to C$39.24 after two of its U.S. operating units declared force majeure due to severe weather in the Gulf of Mexico.
Uranium producer Cameco Corp shares dropped 1 percent to C$22.23 after it said it will buy an Australian uranium deposit from BHP Billiton for $430 million.
Canada’s big banks, which are due to report quarterly earnings this week, rose. Bank of Montreal and Bank of Nova Scotia, which was the biggest heavyweight gainer on Monday with a 0.9 percent rise to C$52.94, both report on Tuesday.
“The market is really confused,” said John Hughes, senior mining analyst at Desjardins Securities in Toronto. “There’s no real commitment, up or down.”
He said that Toronto-listed miners, particularly those that extract copper, could bounce higher by the end of the year if China moves to restock depleted stores of the metal, which is used extensively in industrial construction.
Baskin from Baskin Financial said he was surprised to see Potash Corp, the world’s biggest fertilizer producer, among the laggards, given that a U.S. drought will likely push up demand.
“Grain stocks will be at quite low levels worldwide and there’s going to be a big demand for fertilizers in the winter and the spring as farmers prepare for their planting,” he said.