November 4, 2016 / 9:17 PM / 4 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX suffers lowest close in six weeks as energy, banks fall

(Adds portfolio manager quotes, updates prices)

* TSX ends down 74.17 points, or 0.51 percent, at 14,509.25

* Index falls 1.9 percent for the week, the most since February

* Nine of the TSX’s 10 main groups end lower

By Fergal Smith

TORONTO, Nov 4 (Reuters) - Canada’s benchmark stock index on Friday closed at its lowest in six weeks on declines in energy and banking shares, pressured by lower oil prices and an uncertain U.S. interest rate and political environment.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index closed down 74.17 points, or 0.51 percent, at 14,509.25, while on Wall Street, the S&P 500 ended lower for the ninth straight session, unnerved by a recent tightening in the U.S. presidential election race.

“The whole political environment is taking a lot of the excitement out of the market,” said Susan Da Sie, senior portfolio manager at Manulife Asset Management, adding that the overhang could continue even after Tuesday’s U.S. elections.

For the week, the TSX fell 1.9 percent, the largest one-week decline since February.

The uncertain U.S. interest rate outlook and recent sharp drop in oil prices have also weighed on the market, Da Sie said.

U.S. employers maintained a strong pace of hiring in October and boosted wages for workers, which could effectively seal the case for a December rate increase from the Federal Reserve.

Oil futures fell by their biggest weekly percentage decline since January of around 9 percent as signs of tensions resurfaced between Saudi Arabia and Iran that could scupper a key supply cut pact. U.S. crude oil futures settled 59 cents lower at $44.07 a barrel.

The energy group fell nearly 1 percent, with Canadian Natural Resources Ltd down 2 percent to C$40.12. The oil sands crude producer was set to become the first to restart a deferred major project since the global oil price slump began in 2014.

The most influential weights also included several big banks, with Toronto-Dominion Bank down 1.1 percent to C$59.71 and Royal Bank of Canada off 0.8 percent to C$82.06.

The financials group slipped 0.6 percent, while nine of the index’s 10 main groups ended lower.

With traditional valuation measures such as the price-earnings ratio looking expensive, further growth in earnings is needed to support higher levels for the index, Da Sie said.

The Canadian economy unexpectedly added tens of thousands of jobs for a second straight month in October which might trim the chance of a rate cut from the Bank of Canada, analysts said.

Sierra Wireless Inc jumped 14.6 percent to C$19.23 and Secure Energy Services Inc gained 9.4 percent to C$8.63 after each reported quarterly earnings. (Additional reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and James Dalgleish)

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