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Mar 21, 2017

TSX ends lower as financials, energy drag

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Canada's benchmark stock index fell on Tuesday, with heavyweight financial stocks following Wall Street banks lower as investors fretted about U.S. President Donald Trump's ability to boost growth and energy stocks weighing with lower oil prices.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index ended down 129.19 points, or 0.84 per cent, at 15,313.13.

Of the index's 10 main groups, only the typically defensive telecoms and utilities sectors ended in positive territory, while gold miners also gained as bullion benefited from a weaker U.S. dollar.

"This is the bloom off the rose," said Niall Brown, a portfolio manager at Morgan Meighen & Associates, referring to the legislative battle Trump faces to overhaul the healthcare law known as Obamacare before turning his attention to the tax system and business regulations.

"The market is suddenly realizing maybe things aren't going to get enacted in as business-friendly a manner as he was hoping," he said. "The North American banks certainly took a good ding today as a result."

Canada's heavyweight financials group fell 1.2 per cent, adding to losses from the prior two sessions, with insurer Manulife Financial Corp shedding four per cent to $23.04 and Toronto-Dominion Bank off 1.2 per cent at $64.84.

Energy stocks fell 1.6 per cent, as concerns about new supply pushed U.S. crude down to its lowest since November.

The most influential gainers on the index included Barrick Gold Corp, which advanced 2.1 per cent to $25.99.

The world's largest gold producer said a World Bank arbitration tribunal had ruled in favor of it and joint venture partner Antofagasta plc over a copper project in Pakistan.

Endeavor Mining Corp gained 6.4 per cent to $24.91 after the gold miner said it had ended discussions with London-based Acacia Mining Plc regarding a potential merger.

Other gold miners also gained, as the bullion price rallied to its highest in nearly three weeks.

Ivanhoe Mines Ltd jumped 9.3 per cent to $4.70 after it said it had discovered more copper at its mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

But several base metal miners featured on the negative side of the ledger as copper prices fell, with First Quantum Minerals Ltd down 5.8 per cent to $13.59 and Lundin Mining Corp  falling 5.2 per cent to $7.64.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, ended flat overall.

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