TSX Slips As ECB Comments Weigh; BlackBerry Climbs

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February 8, 2013 3:06 PM EST

Canada's main stock index closed slightly lower on Thursday as a wave of negative sentiment after the European Central Bank warned about weak euro zone economies pulled down energy and financial shares, though shares of BlackBerry jumped.

Shares of BlackBerry rose 5.8 percent after the smartphone maker named two wireless industry veterans to an expanded board of directors, seeking to allay some investor concern around the level of industry experience on the board. An analyst also upgraded the stock.

Investors initially had been buoyed by the European Central Bank's decision to hold its interest rate at 0.75 percent and by a fall in U.S. jobless claims that pointed to a modest improvement in the country's labor market. But sentiment shifted, denting stocks, after ECB President Mario Draghi said policymakers will monitor the impact of a rising currency.

Earnings reports from several Canadian companies also drew attention. Shares of Manulife Financial Corp  gained after the insurer reported a quarterly profit, while miner Teck Resources Ltd slipped after its earnings slumped.

"Investors are unsure where to go from here. The earnings numbers on the Canadian side have been okay but not spectacular," said Elvis Picardo, strategist and vice president of research at Global Securities in Vancouver.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE unofficially ended down 5.67 points, or 0.04 percent, at 12,755.92. Four of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the red.

The energy sector gave back 0.4 percent and played the biggest role in leading the market lower. Suncor Energy Inc declined 0.9 percent to C$32.23.

"There is some worry about the outlook for Canadian energy producers for the next few months. That's not something investors want to hear in this environment," Picardo said.

Shares of Teck Resources fell 6 percent to C$34.45 after the diversified miner reported a sharp drop in fourth-quarter earnings as higher copper sales failed to offset the impact of sagging coal prices.

BCE Inc, Canada's biggest telecom provider, reported higher quarterly profit and raised its dividend, helped by its wireless and media divisions and investment gains. But its results were just shy of estimates. The stock slipped 0.2 percent to C$44.43 and weighed on the telecoms sector.

Financials, the index's weightiest sector, slipped 0.1 percent.

Manulife reported a fourth-quarter profit on tax and investment gains, as well as stronger sales of insurance and wealth products in its Asian division. The stock rose 1 percent to C$14.55.

Shares of Shoppers Drug Mart Corp rose 1.1 percent to C$42.10 after the pharmacy chain reported a fourth-quarter sales increase and profit that slightly exceeded expectations.

Gold stocks were among the biggest gainers. Goldcorp Inc added 0.7 percent to C$36.06, and Yamana Gold Inc was up 1.8 percent at C$16.73.

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