CANADA STOCKS-Financial shares, risk aversion take TSX slightly lower

* TSX down 30.05 points, or 0.19 percent, at 15,667.13

* Six of the TSX’s 10 main groups decline
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Canada’s main stock
index dipped on Friday as financial and natural resource shares
lost ground, while concerns about escalating geopolitical
tensions after U.S. missile strikes in Syria prompted a risk-off
sentiment among investors.

The banking sector fell 0.2 percent as Canada’s
10-year government bond yield touched 1.505 percent,
its lowest in four months.

Higher bond yields would reduce the value of insurance
companies’ liabilities and increase net interest margins of

Bank of Nova Scotia was the biggest drag on the
Toronto market, down 0.8 percent at C$78.11, followed by Royal
Bank of Canada, which declined 0.5 percent to C$97.32.

Traders were focused on the political environment after the
United States launched cruise missile strikes on a Syrian air
base. Russia warned on Friday that the move could have
“extremely serious” consequences.

“Markets have been fairly complacent on the risk side,” said
Youssef Zohny, international client advisor at the StennerZohny
Group of Morgan Stanley.

“So any sort of headline or geopolitical risk, I would say
the market is more sensitive to some of those effects.”

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index
finished down 30.05 points, or 0.19 percent, at

Six of the index’s 10 main groups were lower. Even with
Friday’s small decline, the TSX ended the week up 0.8 percent,
its second consecutive week of gains.

Despite higher commodity prices, both the energy
and materials sectors weighed on the index on Friday
and were down 0.7 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively.

Barrick Gold Corp declined 0.9 percent to C$25.64
after Argentinian mining officials told the company it must
overhaul environmental and operating processes at its Veladero
mine following last week’s cyanide solution spill.

Bank of Montreal, Canada’s fourth-biggest lender,
said Chief Operating Officer Darryl White will step up to be
chief executive in November, succeeding Bill Downe who will
retire. The bank’s shares edged up 0.3 percent at C$100.23.

Investors will start to turn their attention toward earnings
season, with some corporate results coming out of the United
States next week, said Zohny.

Given that stock valuations and earnings expectations have
risen, there is a downside risk to the market in the near term
unless a strong catalyst emerges, he said.

The market is up 2.5 percent for the year so far, extending
the hefty 17.5 percent gain it saw in 2016.
(Reporting by Fergal Smith in Toronto and Leah Schnurr in
Ottawa; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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