CANADA STOCKS-TSX little changed as Loblaw surge offsets TD weakness

Thu Dec 6, 2012 11:20am EST

* TSX down 2.85 points, or 0.02 percent, at 12,154.44
    * Five of 10 main sectors decline
    * TD down 2 pct on concerns about acquisition risk, results
    * Loblaw shares up 16 percent on REIT venture plans

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Dec 6 (Reuters) - Canadian stocks were little
changed on Thursday as a 16-percent jump in Loblaw Cos Ltd
 on the grocer's plan to spin off its property holdings
partly offset investor concerns about Toronto-Dominion Bank's
 latest U.S. acquisition and results.
    Loblaw, the country's largest grocer, said it would create
one of Canada's largest real estate investment trusts to hold a
significant part of its property assets and sell units through
an initial public offering. The stock rose to C$38.92.
 
    "The market is probably right here about being
enthusiastic," said John Ing, president of Maison Placements
Canada.
    "It is a smart deal for them. This is a good way of
utilizing an underutilized asset," he said of the company's plan
to unlock the value of the prime real estate it owns across the
country.
    Shares of Canadian Tire Corp, another owner of
prime retail real estate, were up 3 percent at C$67.78.
    At midmorning, Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite
index was down 2.85 points, or 0.02 percent, at
12,154.44. Five of the 10 main sectors on the index were trading
lower.
    Toronto-Dominion said it is buying the owner of Epoch
Investment Partners for $668 million in cash to expand its U.S.
asset management business, while it reported a flat quarterly
profit. 
    Shares of the country's second-biggest bank were down 1.6
percent at C$81.31, playing the biggest role of any single stock
in weighing on the market. Stock in the bank fell on worries
about higher expenses and loan loss provisions, as well as added
caution attached to its bid for Epoch.
    "TD is the culprit. The banking sector has been sluggish.
There are headwinds, like slowing mortgages, slowing loans. 2013
is going to be a more difficult year for the banks, unless the
economy picks up," Ing said.
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