TSX falls as financials, railway stocks weigh

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index fell on Tuesday as profit-taking weighed on financial and railway stocks, offsetting gains for energy companies and gold miners as commodity prices rose.

A man walks past an old Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) sign in Toronto, June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 37.93 points, or 0.25 percent, at 15,441.36.

The index reached a more than two year high earlier this month at 15,621.40, helped by optimism that the policies of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump will raise growth and inflation and by an agreement by major oil producers in November to cut output. But the rally has since lost some momentum.

“I think what we are seeing is a little bit of profit-taking in sectors that had done well at the end of the year,” said Susan Da Sie, senior managing director at Manulife Asset Management.

Industrials fell 1.1 percent, with Canadian National Railway Co CNR.TO sliding 1.7 percent to C$91.81, while financials declined 0.7 percent as bond yields fell.

Higher bond yields reduce the value of insurance companies’ liabilities and increase net interest margins of banks.

Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO fell 0.7 percent to C$93.58 and Toronto-Dominion Bank TD.TO declined 0.9 percent to C$66.37.

Canada’s housing agency said on Tuesday it will increase its homeowner mortgage loan insurance premiums in a move that makes it marginally more expensive for borrowers to buy a home but should not materially affect the housing market.

Home Capital Group Inc HCG.TO, whose Home Trust unit is more exposed to housing than the banks, fell 2.3 percent to C$29.80.

Six of the index’s 10 main groups ended lower.

Investors have been “wrestling” with a Republican plan to tax imports into the United States and have been disappointed that Trump did not take the chance at last week’s press conference to address plans to spend on infrastructure, cut taxes and lower regulation, Da Sie said.

Commodity prices were boosted by a fall in the U.S. dollar in which they are priced after Trump said that the strong greenback was hurting U.S. competitiveness.

U.S. crude CLc1 prices settled 11 cents higher at $52.48 a barrel and gold XAU= jumped more than 1 percent to an eight-week high. [O/R][GOL/]

The energy group climbed 0.4 percent, while the materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 0.2 percent.

Goldcorp Inc G.TO rose 3.2 percent to C$19.77 and Kinross Gold Corp K.TO gained 5.8 percent to C$4.73.

Additional reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Tom Brown