Canadian stocks fell for a third day, leaving the benchmark gauge at a two-week low, as declines among energy producers and banks overshadowed gains in precious metals producers.
Telus Corp. and BCE Inc. slid at least 0.6 percent to lead a decline in phone shares. Talisman Energy Inc. dropped 1.6 percent as crude retreated to a five-week low. Detour Gold Corp. jumped 4.7 percent as gold producers rallied. BlackBerry Ltd. added 5.2 percent after the smartphone maker hired Ron Louks, a former HTC Corp. and Sony Ericsson executive, to run its devices business.
The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index fell 53.32 points, or 0.4 percent, to 13,495.54 at 4 p.m. in Toronto. The gauge has fallen 0.9 percent in the past three sessions.
“Investors are still looking for an overriding theme for the year,” said Patrick Blais, a fund manager at Manulife Asset Management Ltd. in Toronto. His firm manages about C$265 billion ($248.8 billion). “We’re waiting for quarterly earnings to start. This is the year companies need to start delivering in the top line and in the bottom line.”
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. retreated 3.7 percent to C$119.99 for a second day of losses as health-care stocks sank 3.2 percent, the most in the S&P/TSX. Six of 10 industries dropped in the benchmark equity gauge on trading volume 13 percent lower than the 30-day average.
Bank of Nova Scotia, the third-largest lender in Canada, dropped 1.1 percent to C$64.74 to pace declines among financials stocks. Toronto-Dominion Bank of Canada lost 0.9 percent to C$97.99 and Royal Bank of Canada fell 1 percent to C$70.70.
Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Canada’s housing market was cooling and he was less worried about a bubble forming, in part due to changes his government has made to mortgage-lending rules.
“We’ve tightened the rules four times on mortgage insurance and if we have to tighten them again we will,” Flaherty said in an interview broadcast yesterday on CTV’s “Question Period.”
Telus declined 1.2 percent to C$36.35 and BCE fell 0.6 percent to C$45.33. Telus on Jan. 3 lost a court battle with the federal government over the mobile-phone carrier’s request for a judicial review of a decision to limit the amount of wireless spectrum the nation’s largest carriers were allowed to buy in an upcoming auction, the Globe and Mail reported. The frequencies are necessary for use with high-speed data devices.
Energy shares slid 0.3 percent for a third day of declines as crude fell to a five-week low in New York. Talisman Energy dropped 1.6 percent to C$12.16.
Detour Gold Corp., the worst-performing stock in the S&P/TSX in 2013, jumped 4.7 percent to C$5.17 and B2Gold Corp. rallied 2.6 percent to C$2.35. The price of gold settled little changed in New York after earlier falling as much as 2.1 percent.
Tourmaline Oil Corp. gained 3.9 percent to C$46.41, for a record close. The oil producer estimated its daily production volumes reached a record of 111,200 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the second half of December following the start up of two gas plant expansions.
The company said it will reach its 2014 forecast average daily production of 118,000 barrels a day in the second half of February.
BlackBerry climbed 5.2 percent to C$8.51, the highest level in two months. Chief Executive Officer John Chen has replaced several members of his senior management team since taking over in November as BlackBerry works to reignite demand for its smartphones.