TSX slips but BlackBerry tempers decline; index up on quarter

TORONTO/OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index ended modestly lower on Friday, weighed by financial and railway companies, though better-than-expected results from BlackBerry BB.TO offset some of the losses as its stock surged.

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

Despite the small decline, the Toronto stock market ended the first quarter up 1.7 percent, its fifth consecutive quarterly advance. Although the market hit a record high last month, it has pulled back somewhat since.

“We had a bit of a consolidation toward the end of this quarter, which I think was very healthy,” said Rick Hutcheon, president and chief operating officer at RKH Investments.

“I think the market needs to pause a little bit. I suspect we’re going to be in a situation where the market trades in a bit of a range for a while.”

Shares of BlackBerry Ltd jumped 11.1 percent to C$10.3 after the company reported better-than-expected adjusted earnings and said it expects to be profitable on an adjusted basis in 2018.

BlackBerry was one of the biggest lifts on the index, while the tech group .SPTTTK was the best performing sector, climbing 0.7 percent.

But the market was weighed by declines in financial shares, including Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO, which fell 1.0 percent to C$96.89. Bank of Nova Scotia BNS.TO declined 1.1 percent to C$77.8. The overall financials group .SPTTFS slipped 0.6 percent.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended down 31.01 points, or 0.2 percent, to 15,547.75. Of the index's 10 main groups, six fell.

CIBC CM.TO, which fell nearly 3 percent on Thursday after it raised its offer for PrivateBancorp Inc, recouped some of the previous session's losses, rising 0.8 percent to C$114.67.

Canada's two biggest rail operators also dragged, with Canadian Pacific Railway CP.TO slipping 1.0 percent to C$195.35 and Canadian National Railway CNR.TO off 0.5 percent to C$98.16.

Energy stocks tracked moves in oil prices, which edged up after falling below $50 a barrel. The Canadian energy group .SPTTEN edged up 0.2 percent.

U.S. crude CLc1 prices settled up 25 cents at $50.60 a barrel, though Brent crude LCOc1 lost 13 cents to $52.83. [O/R]

Data showed the Canadian economy expanded by a healthy 0.6 percent in January from December, indicating first-quarter growth will be stronger than expected as the country gradually recovers from the shock of low oil prices.

Advancing stocks outnumbered declining ones on the TSX by 129 to 110, for a 1.17-to-1 ratio on the upside.

The index posted 10 new 52-week highs and 1 new lows.

Reporting by Solarina Ho in Toronto and Leah Schnurr in Ottawa; Editing by Sandra Maler