CANADA STOCKS-TSX falls on commodity retreat, ekes out August gain

(Adds portfolio manager comment, updates prices to close)

* TSX ends down 87.70 points, or 0.60 percent, at 14,597.15

* Seven of the TSX’s 10 main groups fall

By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO, Aug 31 Canada’s main stock index fell
on Wednesday as lower oil and gold prices weighed on energy
companies and miners, while financial and other interest
rate-sensitive stocks slipped as investors considered the likely
path of U.S. interest rates.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index
fell 87.70 points, or 0.60 percent, to 14,597.15.

“Part of the reason for the drop is that some of the
commodity-related names have run too far, too fast in Canada,”
said Barry Schwartz, portfolio manager at Baskin Financial
Services.

“Investors are looking for some kind of excuse to sell,” he
said. “Investors have a heightened sense that possibly the
markets are overvalued.”

The index eked out a 0.1 percent gain over the course of
August but is trading just below a 13-month peak hit mid-month.

The energy group retreated 1.7 percent as oil prices fell 3
percent, while the materials group, which includes precious and
base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 0.7 percent.

Potash Corp gained 2 percent to C$23.76 and Agrium
Inc rose 1 percent to C$126.36 a day after the two
companies said they were in talks to merge into a fertilizer and
farm retailing giant.

Barrick Gold Corp fell 2.3 percent to C$22.29,
pressured by gold sliding to a two-month low after
forecast-beating U.S. jobs data stoked speculation the Federal
Reserve would move ahead with plans to raise interest rates.

Baskin’s Schwartz said uncertainty about when the Fed moves
would likely hang over the market in the next month, and that
real estate investment trusts and telecoms companies in Canada
were being pressured by bets on U.S. hikes.

The financial sector slipped 0.5 percent on the day, while
telecoms were off 0.6 percent. Seven of the index’s 10 main
groups fell.

The most influential movers on the day included Suncor
Energy Inc, which fell 2.4 percent to C$35.56

Restaurant Brands International gained 1.7 percent to
C$62.57 after saying it planned to launch Tim Hortons coffee and
doughnut stores in Britain.

Canada’s economy shrank in the second quarter in its worst
showing in seven years, hurt by a drop in exports and a
disruption to oil production caused by wildfires in northern
Alberta, data from Statistics Canada showed.

(Additional reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Nick
Zieminski and Peter Cooney)

The article CANADA STOCKS-TSX falls on commodity retreat, ekes out August gain was originally published at Reuters - US Energy.