TSX down as central bank warns on housing, oil price slips

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index fell on Thursday after hitting its highest level since August a day earlier, with energy stocks hurt by oil’s pullback and financials down with bond yields and a Bank of Canada warning on the country’s housing market.

A sign board displaying Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) stock information is seen in Toronto June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE has been moving steadily higher since a multi-year low in January, helped by a recovery in oil prices to around $50 a barrel from nearer $25.

Crude prices slipped in the session after a three-day rally, with a strong U.S. dollar sparking profit-taking. [O/R]

“The TSX has been on a tremendous run,” said Elvis Picardo, strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver, adding it and other global indexes “seem to be running off a little bit of steam here.”

Financial stocks fell 0.75 percent overall, as the Bank of Canada warned that rapid price hikes for homes in Toronto and Vancouver are unlikely to continue.

The energy group retreated 1.4 percent, with Canadian Natural Resources CNQ.TO down 1.4 percent to C$38.08 and Cenovus Energy Inc CVE.TO off 3.3 percent at C$19.28.

The most influential movers on the index included Manulife Financial MFC.TO, which declined 2.5 percent to C$18.55.

Toronto-Dominion Bank TD.TO lost 0.7 percent to C$57.20, and Bank of Nova Scotia BNS.TO slipped 0.9 percent to C$66.32.

The index ended down 73.08 points, or 0.51 percent, at 14,240.02. Eight of its 10 main groups fell, with two decliners for every gainer.

Picardo said that the index may struggle to push much higher given investor worries about a possible British exit from the European Union, uncertainty about when the U.S. Federal Reserve may raise interest rates, and the risks surrounding the U.S. federal election.

Canada-listed gold miners offset the losses as bullion extended a rally to a three-week high. [GOL/]

Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO gained 2.1 percent to C$24.91 and Goldcorp Inc G.TO rose 1.8 percent to C$23.81.

Baytex Energy Corp BTE.TO rose 1.2 percent to C$8.53, extending recent sharp gains. The company has restarted nearly all the heavy crude output it shut last year, encouraged by the months-long rally in oil prices, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

Industrials fell 0.7 percent, while the materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 0.3 percent.

Gold futures GCc1 rose 0.8 percent to $1,270.5 an ounce, while copper prices CMCU3 fell 1.4 percent to $4,514.85 a tonne. [MET/L][GOL/]

Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by James Dalgleish and Leslie Adler