TSX falls as energy sector weighs, Canadian Natural jumps

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index fell on Thursday in a broad retreat led by energy stocks as crude prices dropped, although a strong earnings report from Canadian Natural Resources helped that stock buck the trend.

Businessmen pass the Toronto Stock Exchange sing in Toronto, Ontario, Canada July 6, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

The major oil sands operator’s shares jumped 3.4 percent to C$39.90 after it reported quarterly profit that topped estimates and said it will cut capital spending.

“Even in a tough oil price environment they are still showing really good numbers,” said Bryden Teich, a portfolio manager at Avenue Investment Management.

Despite the gain of one of its biggest members, the energy group fell 1.2 percent overall as oil prices slipped on the re-emergence of concern about high crude supplies from producer club OPEC.

Natural gas developer Seven Generations Energy Ltd slumped 17.6 percent to C$16.90 after lowering its 2017 production guidance while keeping its capital budget unchanged.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index ended down 73.67 points, or 0.48 percent, at 15,191.96.

All 10 of its main sectors ended in the red, and decliners outnumbered advancers by 2.5 to 1.

A 20.5-percent plunge in Sierra Wireless Inc stock also weighed on the market after the technology company missed earnings expectations, provided lower-than-expected guidance, and announced a plan to buy another company.

Major telecom company BCE Inc lost 1.1 percent to C$58.76 after reporting strong wireless business growth that was offset by weakness in its fixed-line operations and higher expenses.

Still, a better earnings environment overall should help the index push higher, Avenue’s Teich said.

“Earnings in aggregate are on pace to do well for the quarter; I think that bodes well for the index over the next six months,” Teich said.

Other Canadian companies getting earnings-related boosts included gold miners Kinross Gold Corp and smaller rival Alamos Gold Inc as well as financial services company Altus Group Ltd.

Kinross added 4.8 percent to C$5.45, Alamos jumped 9.9 percent to C$9.66, and Altus surged 17.8 percent to C$31.06.

Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Nick Zieminski and James Dalgleish