TSX falls as investors pocket profits since Trump victory

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s benchmark stock index fell on Thursday, pressured by losses of heavyweight financial and energy stocks as investors took money off the table following solid gains since the U.S. presidential election.

People walk by a Bay Street sign at the financial district in Toronto, October 10, 2008. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

The lack of details on economic policy by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump at his news conference on Wednesday - the first since the November election - weighed on investor optimism.

“I just think that people traded quickly into their belief of new policy on Trump coming into office and that pulls forward a lot of returns,” said Ben Jang, portfolio manager at Nicola Wealth Management.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE has rallied more than 5 percent since the Nov. 8 election. Last week it touched its highest level since September 2014, at 15,621.40, just shy of its record high.

“I think the sell-off is helping the market to normalize a bit and better understand that you need to wait until we are into the 100-day mark (of the new presidency) and we start to see a resemblance of what reform is going to look like,” Jang said.

The TSX closed down 73.38 points, or 0.47 percent, at 15,418.16.

The country's biggest banks and insurers were among the most influential weights on the index as bond yields fell, with Manulife Financial Corp MFC.TO down 1.8 percent at C$24.43, and Bank of Montreal BMO.TO off 0.9 percent to C$97.97.

The financials group - which accounts for 35 percent of the index - fell 0.5 percent, while the energy group declined 0.9 percent even as oil prices rose.

Suncor Energy Inc SU.TO dropped 0.9 percent to C$42.78, while MEG Energy Corp MEG.TO slumped 5.4 percent to C$7.96. MEG said it planned to refinance its debt and increase its capital spending by almost four times in 2017 after deferring some projects in 2016.

U.S. crude oil futures CLc1 settled 76 cents higher at $53.01 a barrel.

Shaw Communications Inc SJRb.TO fell 1.9 percent to C$27.66 after the cable company's quarterly profit more than halved as it took a charge related to the shutdown of a video streaming joint venture.

Industrials fell 0.5 percent, while the materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 0.4 percent.

Gold XAU= surged to a seven-week high above $1,200 an ounce before paring gains and copper prices CMCU3 advanced 2.2 percent to $5,842.15 a tonne. [GOL/][MET/L]

Just two of the index’s 10 main groups ended higher, with telecoms rising 0.3 percent and utilities up 0.6 percent.

Additional reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Leslie Adler