TSX falls as results from Manulife, others disappoint

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index fell on Thursday for a fifth straight session, hitting a three-week low as disappointing corporate earnings added to broad investor unease about the global economy.

A man walks past an old Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) sign in Toronto, June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended down 98.35 points, or 0.81 percent, at 12,087.37. Nine of its 10 main sectors lost ground.

The losses were broadly in line with falls on Wall Street but less steep than market slides in Europe, where a slump in banks and commodity-related stocks pushed a pan-Europe index to a 2-1/2 year low.

“There is just this overwhelming sense of bearishness that’s got a fierce hold on the market,” said Elvis Picardo, strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver. “In Canada the news hasn’t been too encouraging as you’ve seen from the earnings that have come out today.”

The most influential weight on the index was Manulife Financial Corp MFC.TO, which slumped 8.5 percent to C$15.84 after the country's largest insurer missed market estimates and said it would be difficult to achieve its core earnings target for 2016.

The heavyweight financials group fell 2 percent to its lowest level in more than two years, with Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO down 1.8 percent at C$65 and Toronto-Dominion Bank TD.TO off 1.4 percent at C$49.02.

Teck Resources Ltd TCKb.TO, North America's largest producer of steel-making coal, declined 5.3 percent to C$5.15. Cost-cutting helped the diversified miner report a surprise adjusted profit but it also recorded an impairment charge as it slashed its workforce.

The index fell as low as 11,985.68 at one point, its weakest level since Jan. 21. Picardo said the index could well test 11,500 in coming weeks.

The country's second-largest pipeline company, TransCanada Corp TRP.TO, barely advanced despite reporting a better-than-expected quarterly profit and raising its dividend at a time when most energy companies are scaling back shareholder payouts.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, gained 0.4 percent.

Gold miners benefited as the price of bullion jumped more than 5 percent to its highest in a year as fears about financial instability, a lower dollar and slumping stock markets had investors seeking refuge in the precious metal.

Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO rose 3.7 percent to C$16.7010 and Goldcorp Inc G.TO rose 4.4 percent to C$21.20.

Kinross Gold Corp K.TO surged 13.7 percent to C$4.07 after forecasting record output and lower costs this year.

Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Bernadette Baum and David Gregorio