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Sep 5, 2017

TSX slips, financials lead selloff amid North Korea tensions

BNN's closing bell update: September 5, 2017

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Canada's main stock index fell on Tuesday as investors pulled back amid tensions over North Korea's nuclear program and as another hurricane threatened the southern United States.

Financial stocks led declines as bond yields fell, while gold miners gained and energy stocks perked up with a surge in oil prices and news of a deal in Alberta's oil patch.

Teck Resources Ltd (TECKb.TO) fell 6.7 per cent to $29.47 after Chinese sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp, a cornerstone shareholder, sold a substantial chunk of its holding.

The diversified miner had risen steadily from a trough below $20 in mid-June as copper prices lifted off.

The heavyweight financials group lost 1.2 per cent, tracking larger losses among U.S. financials as investors flocked to low-risk government debt in reaction to North Korea's biggest nuclear missile test yet.

"People are getting a little bit nervous about the approaching debt ceiling in the U.S., and certainly North Korea has rattled people significantly," said Rick Hutcheon, president and chief operating officer at RKH Investments.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index ended down 101.45 points, or 0.67 per cent, at 15,090.15.

The most influential movers included Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), which fell 1.5 per cent to $90.77, and insurer Manulife Financial Corp (MFC.TO), down 2.6 per cent to $24.01.

The energy group edged 0.4 per cent higher as crude prices jumped and gasoline slumped with refineries in Texas starting to resume operations in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Another hurricane, Irma, is rolling toward the southern United States.

Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) gained 1.5 per cent to $39.30 after agreeing to buy Cenovus Energy's (CVE.TO) Pelican Lake heavy oil operations in Alberta for $975 million. Cenovus shares jumped 3.3 per cent to $10.28.

Eight of the index's 10 main groups finished in negative territory, with decliners outnumbering advancers by a 1.5-to-1 ratio overall.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, gained 0.2 per cent as gold miners were boosted by a jump in the precious metal to a one-year high, offsetting Teck's fall.

Kinross Gold Corp (K.TO) gained 4.7 per cent to $5.81 and Goldcorp Inc (G.TO) rose 2.3 per cent to $17.41.

Hudson's Bay Co (HBC.TO) fell 6.8 per cent to $11.27 as investors braced for its earnings report after the bell.