CANADA STOCKS-TSX slips on Ukraine concerns; Canadian Natural up

Thu Mar 6, 2014 11:10am EST

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* TSX falls 23.37 points, or 0.16 percent, to 14,280.80
    * Eight of 10 main index sectors decline
    * Canadian Natural climbs after results

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, March 6 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index fell
on Thursday as worries about political uncertainty in Ukraine
overshadowed positive U.S. labor market data and a gain in
Canadian Natural Resources Ltd shares.
    Figures showed that the number of Americans filing new
claims for unemployment benefits dropped to a three-month low
last week. Investors saw that as a positive signal ahead of
Friday's U.S. nonfarm payrolls report. 
    The market also digested news of Crimea's parliament voting
to join Russia and its Moscow-backed government setting a
referendum within 10 days on the decision. 
    "It's a little premature to think that the Ukraine situation
is over with," said Colin Cieszynski, senior market analyst at
CMC Markets Canada. "People were getting complacent about it
again, but this thing can flare back anytime."
    The Toronto market, which is up about 5 percent this year,
took a bit of a breather after three straight daily gains.
    "We're just in a bit of a pause here as we've had a pretty
good run lately," Cieszynski said. "But the underlying trends
for the TSX remain favorable as resource demand continues to
improve."
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 was down 23.37 points, or 0.16 percent, at 14,280.80.
Eight of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the red.
    Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector,
declined. Royal Bank of Canada gave back 0.2 percent to
C$72.22, and Toronto Dominion Bank lost 0.2 percent to
C$50.24.
    The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, showed
the strongest gain, rising 0.6 percent.
    Potash Corp added 1.7 percent to C$39.03, and Teck
Resources Ltd climbed 2 percent to C$25.09.
    In corporate news, oil producer Canadian Natural reported a
rise in quarterly profit, and the stock advanced 0.4 percent to
C$40.87. 
    SNC-Lavalin Group Inc's shares dropped 4 percent,
to C$46.44, after the company reported fourth-quarter earnings
and forecast a profit for 2014 that missed market expectations.
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