TSX falls as oil fall hits energy stocks; Bombardier gains

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index fell on Wednesday as a third day of oil price losses weighed on its large energy sector and disappointing results from an insurer led financial stocks lower.

A man walks past an old Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) sign in Toronto, June 23, 2014. Canada's main stock index was little changed on Monday as weakness in financial and energy shares offset gains in the materials sector. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Gains for gold and base metal miners on higher commodity prices helped offset the downswing, while Bombardier Inc gained 2.8 percent to C$2.62 after Canada said it would provide the plane and train maker with C$372.5 million in repayable loans for two of its jet programs and defend the deal from the trade challenge Brazil formally launched on Wednesday.

At 9:58 a.m. ET (1458 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 76.31 points, or 0.49 percent, at 15,422.49.

The energy group retreated 1.9 percent as oil prices extended a recent slide with a big increase in U.S. crude inventories and a slump in Chinese demand. [O/R]

Suncor Energy Inc fell 2.1 percent to C$39.76, while pipeline operator Enbridge Inc declined 1.4 percent to C$54.92.

The heavyweight financials group lost 0.7 percent after notching solid gains in recent days on a reassessment of the likely pace of U.S. Federal Reserve interest rate hikes.

Shares in Intact Financial Corp, the country’s largest property and casualty insurer, fell 3.8 percent to C$91.72 after the company missed quarterly operating profit expectations on weakness in its auto insurance business.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 0.9 percent, with gold miners making strong gains as political risk pushed bullion to a three-month peak. [GOL]

Barrick Gold Corp advanced 1.3 percent to C$25.78 and Goldcorp Inc advanced 1.2 percent to C$22.29

Base metals miners also gained, as copper prices rose after the world’s top two mines said strikes and permit delays would force them to cut output, squeezing global supply.

First Quantum Minerals Ltd advanced 1.1 percent to C$16.10 and Lundin Mining Corp was up 3.2 percent at C$8.17.

The exchange operator itself, TMX Group Ltd, was barely lower at C$69.77 after it said it is in talks to convince Saudi Arabia to list its initial public offering of state-owned Saudi Aramco in Canada.

BlackBerry Ltd shares rose 0.4 percent to C$9.45. The company said on Tuesday it would make its BBM secure-messaging system available for software developers to build into their own products.

Half of the index’s 10 groups were lower, with declining issues outnumbered advancers by a 1.55-to-1 ratio.

Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Bill Trott