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Canadian Stocks Fall as Health-Care Slump Offsets Retail Sales

March 21 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian stocks fell, paring the best weekly rally in a month for the benchmark equity index, as declines in health-care and technology companies overshadowed better-than-forecast growth in retail sales.

Big Rock Brewery Inc., a craft beer producer, rose 5.9 percent after saying it is raising $11.8 million ($10.5 million) to build a restaurant and brewery in British Columbia. Solium Capital Inc. fell 5.3 percent after saying its chief executive officer may sell as many as 2.1 million shares over two years. BlackBerry Ltd. lost 4.1 percent as the smartphone maker sold most of its real estate in Canada.

The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index fell 26.07 points, or 0.2 percent, to 14,335.76 at 4 p.m. in Toronto. The equity benchmark rose 0.8 percent over the past five days, the best weekly performance since Feb. 21.

“It appears the economy is holding its own in a very tough winter environment,” Irwin Michael, fund manager with ABC Funds, which manages C$850 million, said in a telephone interview. “The North American economies are improving little by little.”

Canadian retail sales rose at the fastest pace in eight months in January, with the rebound led by automobiles and general merchandise stores. Sales increased 1.3 percent to C$40.7 billion ($36.2 billion), following December’s revised 1.9 percent drop, Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News forecast a 0.7 percent increase, based on the median of 20 projections.

Market Movers

Seven of the 10 main industries in the index fell, with health-care and technology companies losing more than 2 percent.

Big Rock rose 5.9 percent to C$18, the biggest increase since June 2012. The Calgary-based brewery increased a C$10 million stock sale to about C$11.8 million. The money will be used to expand the company by building a restaurant and brewery in British Columbia.

Solium Capital, which builds software for employee stock plans, fell 5.3 percent to C$7.04 after the company announced its CEO Michael Broadfoot may sell 2.1 million of his shares over the next two years.

AutoCanada Inc., which runs car dealerships in Canada, surged 8.6 percent to C$54.99 after saying it planned to buy 10 to 12 new dealerships in the next two years.

Ballard Power Systems Inc. fell 1 percent to C$4.81. The company makes hydrogen fuel cells for companies including Plug Power Inc. Ballard shares have slumped 37 percent since short-seller Andrew Left of Citron Research called Plug, which has seen a 3,000 percent surge in the past year, a “casino stock” on Mar. 11.

Hydrogenics Corp., which also makes fuel cell systems, sank 7.9 percent to C$30.30.

BlackBerry dropped 4.1 percent to C$10.19 for a second day of losses. The smartphone maker agreed to sell more than 3 million square feet of space, plus vacant property, and lease back some of it in a transaction expected to close by the end of May. BlackBerry didn’t disclose terms of the agreement, and didn’t name the buyer.

BlackBerry also argued in court today that Typo Products LLC copied its keyboard design. The company is suing Typo, which is founded by “American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest, saying the company’s iPhone case copies BlackBerry’s keyboard design.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gerrit De Vynck in Toronto at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Lynn Thomasson at Jeff Sutherland

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