June 29, 2015 / 3:25 PM / in 2 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX dives as Greece crisis spurs bank selloff

* TSX sheds 224.20 points, or 1.51 percent, to 14,583.89

* All 10 main groups fall, banks weigh heaviest

By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO, June 29 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index fell more than 1.5 percent on Monday as investors fretted about the impact if Greece exits the euro, with banks taking the brunt of the losses and gold miners listed among the few gainers.

A breakdown in talks between Greece and its creditors has pushed the country closer to default on its loans and possibly out of the currency bloc.

The six most influential weights on the Canadian stock index were all financial, with Royal Bank of Canada falling 2.4 percent to C$76.42 and Toronto-Dominion Bank declining 2.1 percent to C$53.19. The index’s financial group dropped 2.3 percent as a whole.

The banks’ fall, however, was deemed more of a knee-jerk reaction than a retreat that will be sustained.

“I don’t think any Canadian bank has one dollar of assets in Greece anymore. If they do, shame on them because everybody knew about this four years ago,” said Barry Schwartz, portfolio manager at Baskin Financial Services.

At 10:29 a.m. (1429 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 224.20 points, or 1.51 percent, at 14,583.89. All 10 of its main groups were in negative territory, with seven stocks falling for every one that gained.

“Anybody who is a net saver and plans to be investing for the next many, many years should use any market selloff as an opportunity to buy,” Schwartz said. “The alternative, sitting in cash earning negative returns, is unthinkable.”

A Reuters poll showed that strategists expect Canadian stocks to edge higher in the second half of the year before picking up further in early 2016.

The energy group retreated 1.7 percent as U.S. crude prices fell 1.7 percent to $58.62 a barrel and Brent crude lost 1.8 percent to $62.11.

The materials group, which includes miners, was the closest to positive, retreating 0.5 percent.

Gold, which often benefits from safe-haven buying in uncertain times, gave up early gains made on the Greek crisis due to wariness over the metal’s longer-term outlook.

Among Gold-mining shares, Barrick Gold Corp rose 0.7 percent to C$13.53, and Goldcorp Inc advanced 0.8 percent to C$20.48.

On the positive side, Element Financial Corp rose 1.4 percent to C$19.08 after agreeing to buy General Electric Co’s fleet management operations in the United States, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand for C$8.6 billion.

$1=$1.24 Canadian Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn; and Peter Galloway

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