CANADA STOCKS-TSX declines as Russia-Ukraine crisis intensifies

Thu Aug 7, 2014 5:04pm EDT

* TSX down 83.66 points, or 0.55 percent, at 15,118.43
    * Eight of the 10 main index sectors decline
    * Air Canada drops after reporting results

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Aug 7 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index dropped
on Thursday as worries about the escalating crisis in Ukraine
fueled declines in most major sectors.
    Focusing on Ukraine, investors ignored U.S. government
figures showing that the number of Americans filing new claims
for unemployment benefits fell unexpectedly last
week. 
    Violence was at an elevated level in Ukraine a day after
Russia announced plans to ban imports of food from the United
States and fruits and vegetables from Europe in response to U.S.
and European Union sanctions. 
    Also weighing on the market, shares of Air Canada 
tumbled 8.1 percent after the carrier said yields, or passenger
revenue per available seat mile, a key measure of revenue, fell
in the second quarter. 
    While the benchmark TSX index is still up about 11 percent
since the start of the year, it has ended four of the past five
sessions in negative territory.
    "It's basically fear taking over. The Russia-Ukraine crisis
is scaring investors," said Marcus Xu, portfolio manager and
president at M.Y. Capital Management Corp in Vancouver.
    "I still think that the market will close the year higher
from here," he said, adding that he expects it to outperform its
U.S. counterpart slightly in 2014.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 closed down 83.66 points, or 0.55 percent, at
15,118.43. Eight of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the
red.
    Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector,
slipped 0.8 percent, with Bank of Nova Scotia losing 1
percent to C$72.19 and Bank of Montreal declining 0.9
percent to C$79.46.
    Manulife Financial Corp raised its dividend for the
first time since the financial crisis and reported a quarterly
profit that jumped on stronger financial markets. The insurer's
stock was up in early trading but ended the day 2.6 percent
lower at C$21.70. 
    The gold-mining sector climbed with the bullion price,
extending the previous session's rally. Goldcorp Inc 
advanced 0.5 percent to C$30.89, and Barrick Gold Corp 
added 0.7 percent to C$20.18.
    Oil and gas company Canadian Natural Resources Ltd 
shed 2.2 percent to C$44.82 after it cut its 2014 oil production
outlook. 
    ($1=$1.09 Canadian)

 (Editing by Peter Galloway)
A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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