February 11, 2010 / 3:36 PM / 9 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX little changed, dampened by insurer results

 * TSX down 8.32 points at 11,278.01
 * Manulife, Sun Life push TSX lower
 * Greece rescue plan fails to lift index significantly  (Adds details, quote)
 By Jennifer Kwan
 TORONTO, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock market index was little changed on Thursday morning as quarterly results from two of Canada’s big life insurers missed expectations, undermining cautious market optimism about a financial rescue plan for Greece.
 Manulife Financial (MFC.TO), down 2.6 percent at C$18.99, and Sun Life Financial (SLF.TO), which slid 4.2 percent to C$30.06, topped downside movers.
 Both companies notched sharply higher quarterly profits on Thursday on stock market gains and stronger sales, but both missed market expectations. [ID:nN11240504]
 “I think it’s shoot first and ask questions later,” Barry Schwartz, vice president and portfolio manager at Baskin Financial Services, said of the market reaction to the insurer results.
 “To me this is the final kitchen sink, it’s let’s see if there are any more writedowns, let’s clean it up ... and make sure we’re in good shape for 2010. On an earnings basis, the insurers look very cheap,” he added.
 At 10:14 a.m. (1514 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 8.32 points at 11,278.01.
 A deal struck by European leaders to provide financial aid to Greece on Thursday failed to lift the market significantly higher. [ID:nLDE61A0W2] That’s likely because the market rallied earlier in the week on speculation that a deal was in the works, Schwartz said.
 “This is sell on the news. Now that Greece is going to be rescued people are trying to focus on what the next thing to worry about is,” he said.
 Cushioning the index’s fall were resource shares, including Teck Resources TCKb.TO, which rose 3 percent to C$36.59, and Barrick Gold (ABX.TO), up 0.9 percent at C$38.23, as gold and base metals prices were firmer. [GOL/] [MET/L]
 ($1=$1.06 Canadian)  (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Peter Galloway)                                       

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