Saturday, December 10

Toronto market dips as oil rally falters, TD underwhelms

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TORONTO — Canada’s main stock index edged lower on Thursday as a pullback in oil prices weighed on the energy sector and shares of Toronto-Dominion Bank fell more than 3%, although gains for mining stocks helped limit declines.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index ended down 5.23 points, or 0.02%, at 21,250.41.

Wall Street also ended lower, with growth stocks losing ground. Investors worry that disruption of Russia’s oil exports will add to inflation pressures globally and crimp economic growth.

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Consumer discretionary shares fell 2.4%, while energy ended 1.6% lower as oil prices fell.

US crude oil futures settled 2.7% lower, after hitting the highest since September 2008, as sellers jumped on hopes the United States and Iran will agree soon on a nuclear deal that could add barrels to a tight global market.

Financials slipped 0.3%, including a decline of 3.1% for TD, which has the second-highest market capitalization on the TSX.

The bank beat analysts’ estimates for quarterly profit but higher variable expenses and weaker growth in interest income than peers left some analysts underwhelmed.

Still, the Toronto market remained in slight positive territory for the year and could gain further, according to analysts at research firm TS Lombard.

“Given the continued uncertainty, relative value trades backed by fundamentals in equities make sense. Canada is a large commodity exporter, and thus the Canadian economy should generally benefit from higher commodity prices,” the analysts said.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 1.5% as gold and copper prices climbed. (Reporting by Fergal Smith; Additional reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)