CANADA STOCKS-TSX tracks weaker U.S. stocks, banks lead declines

TORONTO, March 3 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock exchange retreated on Tuesday in a broad decline led by the Bank of Nova Scotia, which reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit, and a sell-off in shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc.

The index was also tracking moves in the United States, where markets were taking a pause following the latest records set by the Dow and the S&P, and Nasdaq closing above 5,000 for the first time since March 2000.

“Basically for Canada, we’re seeing stocks dropping back pretty much in tandem with the pullback in U.S. stocks today ... It’s not unusual to rally up to something like that and then pull back as people decide to take profits,” said Colin Cieszynski, senior market analyst at CMC Markets Canada.

Data that showed Canada’s economy grew at a faster pace than economists had forecast also weighed on the market.

“This has cooled speculation of a Canadian interest rate cut ... It’s probably a function of that as well: changing attitudes toward the Bank of Canada’s decision tomorrow,” said Cieszynski.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index fell 120.60 points, or 0.79 percent, to 15,143.45. Of the index’s 10 main groups, only energy shares were in positive territory.

Losses were led by Valeant and Scotiabank. Valeant fell 1.3 percent to C$251.72 after jumping 3.5 percent to a record close in the previous session due to recent acquisition moves. The overall healthcare sector was down 0.4 percent.

Bank of Nova Scotia, Canada’s No. 3 lender, was down 1.6 percent at C$65.87 after reporting the disappointing results. Higher provisions and a softer performance in its investment banking unit hurt business, the company said. Overall, the heavily weighted financials group was down more than 1 percent.

The materials group, home to mining firms, fell 1.1 percent, while consumer staples stocks were down 1.5 percent.

Energy companies, the lone bright spot on the index, were up 0.4 percent. Shares of Canadian Oil Sands Ltd gained 2.4 percent to C$11.06. The company reported late on Monday that crude oil production at Syncrude Canada’s oil sands operation was up 3.4 percent from January. (Reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by James Dalgleish)