CANADA STOCKS-TSX slips as ECB comments weigh; BlackBerry climbs

Thu Feb 7, 2013 4:54pm EST

* TSX falls 5.67 points, or 0.04 percent, to 12,755.92
    * Four of 10 main sectors decline
    * Manulife gains 1 percent on results

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Feb 7 (Reuters) - 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
 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.