TSX little changed as miners gain, banks and energy slip

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index fell on Friday, with a drop in oil prices weighing on energy stocks and heavyweight financial names also slipping as investors worried about the country’s growth prospects.

Bay Street signs are seen in the heart of the financial district in Toronto, August 17, 2009. Toronto's main stock market index dove on Monday morning as commodity-linked stocks sank with oil and metals prices on worries over the pace of economic recovery. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

The index shed 1 percent on the week, after closing last week at a 16-month high.

“There’s still concern over weak growth in Canada,” said Bryden Teich, portfolio manager at Avenue Investment Management. “You’re seeing a little bit of a pause.”

He said investor unease was brought into focus by the Bank of Canada last week saying it had actively discussed adding more monetary stimulus to speed up economic recovery.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index settled down 48.46 points, or 0.33 percent, at 14,785.29.

The index’s energy group lost 1.3 percent, with Cenovus Energy down 3.3 percent at C$20.03 and pipeline operator Enbridge Inc off 1.2 percent at C$58.37.

“It’s been a mixed bag for energy earnings, and it’s still wait and see until what happens at the end of November with the OPEC decision (on oil production), but near-term you do have a floor for oil prices,” Teich said.

Imperial Oil Ltd fell 3.3 percent to C$43.38, even as its quarterly profit beat the consensus forecast on lower costs.

Oil prices settled below $50 and marked their biggest weekly loss in six weeks on concerns OPEC will not fully carry out a planned output cut, even as data showed U.S. oil drillers removed rigs from production for the first time since June. [O/R]

Heavyweight bank stocks fell, with Bank of Montreal down 0.9 percent to C$85.35 after announcing a shakeup of its senior management team.

Colliers International Group Inc fell 9.8 percent to C$47.81 after the commercial real estate company’s quarterly profit and revenue missed expectations.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc slumped 7.9 percent to C$27.21.

The most influential gainer on the index was Barrick Gold Corp, which rose 1.5 percent to C$22.89. The world’s biggest gold miner is in talks with two Chinese companies about potential deals involving some of its South American operations.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 0.5 percent.

Trucking and logistics company Transforce Inc jumped 9 percent to C$29.60 after it said it would buy the truckload operations of XPO Logistics Inc.

Seven of the index’s 10 main groups ended in positive territory, although decliners outnumbered gainers by 1.35-to-1.

Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Paul Simao and Jonathan Oatis