Canadian Stocks Fall as U.S. Confidence Data Offsets Bank Shares

Canadian stocks fell for a second day as data showed the biggest decline in U.S. consumer confidence in 10 months and investors awaited Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s speech in three days.

Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. slid 1.2 percent as nine out of 10 groups in the Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index declined. Eco Oro Minerals Corp. (EOM), a gold explorer in which hedge fund Paulson & Co. owns 10 percent, plunged 55 percent after Colombia granted an extension on less than half the company’s title rights. Bank of Montreal (BMO) paced gains among financial companies after it boosted its dividend.

The S&P/TSX (SPTSX) Composite Index dropped 38.92 points, or 0.3 percent, to 12,009.90 in Toronto. About two stocks fell for each that rose in the Canadian equity benchmark.

“People are waiting to see what Bernanke has to say,” David Baskin, president of Baskin Financial Services Inc. in Toronto, which manages about C$450 million ($445 million) in assets, said in a phone interview. “There was mixed economic news from the U.S. today. While housing prices were better, consumer confidence was weaker-than-expected.”

Bernanke probably won’t provide specific plans for further monetary action at the Fed Bank of Kansas City’s annual Jackson Hole, Wyoming symposium this week, Pacific Investment Management Co. Chief Executive Officer Mohamed El-Erian said today on Bloomberg Television. The Canadian equity benchmark has climbed 6.5 percent since May 18 amid speculation that global central banks will take action to stimulate growth.

Consumer Confidence

The Conference Board’s index of U.S. sentiment decreased to 60.6 from a revised 65.4 in July, figures from the New York- based private research group showed today. The 4.8-point decrease was the biggest since October. Economists projected a reading of 66, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey.

A separate U.S. report also showed that home prices in 20 U.S. cities climbed in June from a year earlier, the first gain in almost two years.

Potash, the world’s largest fertilizer producer, slid 1.2 percent to C$40.22, while Enbridge Inc. (ENB), the largest transporter of Canadian crude to the U.S., lost 1.4 percent to C$38.69.

Eco Oro fell 55 percent to 88 cents, the most since 1992. Colombia’s national mining agency said in a resolution dated Aug. 8 that it would only extend the title on 46 percent of Eco Oro’s Angostura gold and silver concession because the rest of the land was located on a paramo, which is a high-altitude watershed area. The portion of the concession that wasn’t extended contains about 70 percent of the Angostura deposit.

Nexen Slips

Nexen Inc. (NXY) lost 1.1 percent to C$25.11. Canadian Industry Minister Christian Paradis said Cnooc Ltd. will soon file an application to the federal government for approval of the Chinese company’s takeover bid for the oil and gas producer. Cnooc last month offered to acquire Calgary-based Nexen for $15.1 billion in what would be the biggest overseas takeover by a Chinese company.

Bank of Montreal added 0.5 percent to C$58. The nation’s fourth-biggest bank raised its dividend for the first time in five years after profit rose 37 percent to C$970 million, or C$1.42 a share. It increased its dividend 2.9 percent to 72 cents a share.

“It’s all about the banks with a couple of days of reports,” Anil Tahiliani, a fund manager at McLean & Partners Wealth Management, said in a phone interview from Calgary. The firm manages about C$1 billion ($1.01 billion). “It’s positive that they continue to show, even in a weak or slow-growth economy in Canada, that banks can make good profits and return capital to shareholders.”

Royal Bank of Canada (RY), the nation’s largest lender, Toronto- Dominion Bank and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce are scheduled to release third-quarter earnings on Aug. 30. About half of the companies in the S&P/TSX that have reported quarterly results exceeded analysts’ estimates, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Royal Bank of Canada added 0.4 percent to C$54.12. Toronto- Dominion climbed 0.3 percent to C$81.07.

To contact the reporters on this story: Eric Lam in Toronto at elam87@bloomberg.net; Inyoung Hwang in New York at ihwang7@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lynn Thomasson at lthomasson@bloomberg.net

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