TSX weighed by Ukraine tensions, bank shares

Reuters
A sign board displaying Toronto Stock Exchange stock information is seen in Toronto
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A sign board displaying Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) stock information is seen in Toronto June 23, 2014. …

By John Tilak and Leah Schnurr

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index slipped on Friday, pulling back from another record high hit earlier in the day on concerns of a further escalation of tensions in Ukraine and as shares of financial and energy companies fell.

The market saw muted reaction to a speech from U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, which had been highly anticipated by investors for any clues it might offer on the path of monetary policy.

Speaking at the annual gathering in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Yellen called for a "pragmatic" approach, laying out why the central bank needed to move cautiously on raising rates.

"Even though investors continue to parse whatever comes out from the Fed, there was nothing new to add to the debate. And that is evident from the muted market reaction we're seeing so far," said Elvis Picardo, strategist and vice president of research at Global Securities in Vancouver.

Investors were also focused on the ongoing situation in Ukraine, which said Russia had launched a "direct invasion" of its territory after Moscow sent a convoy of aid trucks across the border.

The benchmark Canadian index has been climbing steadily in recent months and is up about 14 percent since the start of the year. It has also notched a string of record highs in recent months.

Investors should be cautious because of the recent gains the Canadian stock market has seen, said Picardo.

"If we have an adverse global event, the TSX would be disproportionately affected," he said.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index ended down 20.54 points, or 0.13 percent, at 15,535.55. The index rose 1.5 percent for the week, it's best week since early June.

Just three out of the index's 10 main sectors declined, with financials leading the way, down 0.5 percent. Royal Bank of Canada was one of the biggest drags of the day, down 1.1 percent at C$80.80, even after the bank reported a bigger-than-expected increase in quarterly earnings.

Shares of energy producers slipped with the price of oil. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd shed 0.3 percent to C$46.29 and TransCanada Corp gave back 0.9 percent to C$55.98.

U.S. crude oil futures fell for a fifth week in a row, settling down 31 cents at $93.65 a barrel. [O/R]

(Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)

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