TORONTO (Reuters) - The TSX fell slightly on Tuesday as strength in commodity prices was not enough to offset a drop in banking shares, which, led lower by Royal Bank of Canada, mirrored weakness in U.S. financial issues.
Without much Canadian news to influence the market, investors were discomforted by a downgrade on Goldman Sachs Group to “neutral” from “buy”.
Financials, which make up about a third of the index’s weighting, fell 1.6 percent, with all five of Canada’s biggest banks and two of its largest insurers among the top 11 most notable decliners.
Royal, Canada’s biggest bank, topped all decliners, falling 1.5 percent to C$55.13, followed by Toronto-Dominion Bank, down 1.8 percent at C$64.64. Insurer Manulife lost 2 percent to C$22.08.
The oil and gas and materials groups, which together account for more than 40 percent of the index’s weighting, were well supported by a record high gold price and a fourth straight session of higher oil prices.
Suncor Energy was the top heavyweight advancer, up 2.9 percent to C$38.70. Many of the oil and gas group’s biggest names were not far behind Suncor, including Canadian Natural Resources, up 2.7 percent at C$74.95, and Canadian Oil Sands Trust, up 4.1 percent at C$33.70.
Most gold-mining shares were also higher, including Yamana, up 3.7 percent at C$13.09.
“Oil and gold are not enough to hold the whole index and financials just slowed things down,” said Francis Campeau, broker at MF Global Canada, in Montreal.
The S&P/TSX composite index closed 23.38 points lower, or 0.2 percent, at 11,413.54.
Concern about a heavy slate of upcoming U.S. earnings reports also persuaded some investors to pocket profits after the index’s 4.4 percent gain last week.
Some active issues on Tuesday included Arise Technologies, which soared by a fifth after the tiny Canadian solar energy company announced a deal giving it another source of solar panels for the big German market and a financial boost to help develop its technology. Arise ended up 20.55 percent at C$0.44.
Detour Gold rose 10.8 percent to close at C$16.10 after the small Canadian gold explorer said it has signed an interim agreement with an aboriginal group as part of negotiations regarding the company’s gold project in northeastern Ontario.
Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Peter Galloway