Alastair Sharp http://blogs.reuters.com/alastair-sharp Alastair Sharp's Profile Fri, 06 Nov 2015 22:30:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.5 TSX hurt by commodity losses, boosted by insurers http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/06/canada-stocks-idUSL1N1312TN20151106?feedType=RSS&feedName=everything&virtualBrandChannel=11563 http://blogs.reuters.com/alastair-sharp/2015/11/06/tsx-hurt-by-commodity-losses-boosted-by-insurers/#comments Fri, 06 Nov 2015 21:59:20 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/alastair-sharp/?p=5160 TORONTO, Nov 6 (Reuters) – Canada’s main stock index was
torn between losses for energy and mining stocks and gains for
financial names on Friday, with both moves magnified by a surge
in U.S. jobs that made it more likely the Federal Reserve will
hike interest rates in December.

The employment report pushed the greenback to a
seven-month high, which in turned weighed on a string of
commodities and the Canadian companies that extract, drill,
produce and move them.

The materials group, which includes miners, fell 1.4
percent. Goldcorp Inc fell 4.2 percent to C$15.34, while
Barrick Gold Corp lost 3.3 percent to C$9.38 as the
price of bullion fell to a three-month low.

TransCanada closed down 4.3 percent at C$43.32
after U.S. President Barack Obama rejected the company’s
proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline after more than seven years of
often rancorous debate.

“We are shocked that there was any value of Keystone left in
TransCanada,” said Norman Levine, managing director at Portfolio
Management Corp.

Fellow pipeline company Enbridge Inc fell 2.2
percent to C$51.74 a day after saying a delay in starting up a
crude pipeline between Ontario and Quebec would hurt its
earnings.

The broader energy group fell 0.6 percent, while U.S. crude
settled 2 percent lower.

Levine said the pipelines, along with other rate-sensitive
groups such as utilities and telecoms, were also pressured by
the prospects of higher interest rates, which makes them less
attractive for investors in search of dividend yields.

The prospect of higher rates boosted insurers, which rely
heavily on holdings of government debt they hold to maturity.

Manulife Financial Corp jumped 3.7 percent to
C$22.36 and Sun Life Financial added 2.7 percent to
C$45.04.

The overall financials groups added 0.9 percent.

“Rate hikes, other than one-day overreactions, are good for
stock markets,” said Norman Levine, managing director at
Portfolio Management Corp. “It signals economies are doing
better, which leads to better corporate profits.”

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index
closes down 5.48 points, or 0.04 percent, at
13,553.30. It gained 0.2 percent for the week.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc rallied
5.6 percent to C$109.19.

The company said on Friday that Goldman Sachs sold 1.3
million shares of Valeant on Thursday, a day when the stock fell
as much as 20 percent, to secure loans made to its CEO Michael
Pearson.

Sierra Wireless Inc slumped 22.7 percent to C$25.51
after its earnings missed analyst expectations.

(Additional reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by James
Dalgleish)

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TSX weighed down by earnings disappointments; Valeant plunge http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/05/canada-stocks-idUSL1N13039O20151105?feedType=RSS&feedName=everything&virtualBrandChannel=11563 http://blogs.reuters.com/alastair-sharp/2015/11/05/tsx-weighed-down-by-earnings-disappointments-valeant-plunge/#comments Thu, 05 Nov 2015 22:06:27 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/alastair-sharp/?p=5158 TORONTO, Nov 5 (Reuters) – A plunge in shares of drugmaker
Valeant and sharp retreats in several other companies on the
back of disappointing earnings reports pushed Canada’s main
stock index lower on Thursday.

Valeant Pharmaceutical International Inc slumped
14.7 percent to C$103.37, touching its lowest level since
mid-2013, heaping new pressure on its CEO after weeks of steep
declines.

Auto maker Magna International Inc fell 10.3 percent
to C$62.42 after reporting a drop in quarterly sales which the
auto parts maker blamed on a strong U.S. dollar.

Magna’s valuation has risen steadily in recent years and the
sharp loss on a moderately disappointing quarter shows that
investors are nervous, said Elvis Picardo, a strategist at
Global Securities in Vancouver.

“It’s an environment right now where investors are skittish
and they’re not going to hesitate to take profits on stocks that
have moved higher,” he said.

Telus, one of the country’s biggest telecom companies, lost
4.1 percent to C$41.91 after reporting slower wireless growth
and planned job cuts.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index
ended down 103.04 points, or 0.75 percent, at
13,558.78.

Shares of Ontario electric utility Hydro One Ltd rose
C$1.12 to C$21.57 on its trading debut.

The stock was priced at C$20.50 last week, at the high end
of a previously announced range.

Insurer Sun Life Financial Inc slipped 1.8 percent
to C$43.86. The company’s CEO told Reuters it is scouting for
more acquisitions in North America and Asia.

The materials group retreated 1.8 percent as copper prices
hit their weakest level in a month..

The energy index dipped 0.1 percent, holding the line
against a sharper oil price fall.

Canadian Natural Resources jumped 5.5 percent to
C$33.71 after the country’s largest independent petroleum
producer reduced its 2015 budget for the fifth time.

Shares in Agrium Inc gained 1.2 percent to
C$126.83 after the Canadian fertilizer and farm retail dealer
bucked on industry trend with a jump in quarterly profit.

($1 = 1.3165 Canadian dollars)

(Additional writing by Fergal Smith; Editing by Diane Craft)

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Telus profit, revenue rise; eyes cost cuts as wireless slows http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/05/telus-results-idUSL1N1300WO20151105?feedType=RSS&feedName=everything&virtualBrandChannel=11563 http://blogs.reuters.com/alastair-sharp/2015/11/05/telus-profit-revenue-rise-eyes-cost-cuts-as-wireless-slows/#comments Thu, 05 Nov 2015 12:15:39 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/alastair-sharp/?p=5156 TORONTO, Nov 5 (Reuters) – Telus Corp, one of
Canada’s three big telecoms providers, reported a 4.2 percent
rise in quarterly revenue on Thursday as wireless growth slowed
and it eyed cost savings.

The Vancouver-based company said it added 69,000 net new
postpaid customers, who typically spend much more per month than
those who prepay for service.

That was a sharp decrease from a year ago and less than
wireless market leader Rogers Communications Inc said
it added in the same period.

“A tougher double cohort quarter for wireless,” RBC Capital
Markets analyst Drew McReynolds wrote in a note, adding that
fixed line earnings were a positive surprise.

The “double cohort” refers to the expiration of three-year
wireless contracts signed before the introduction of a wireless
code that essentially bans them, plus the newer two-year
contracts up for renewal in the same period.

Telus said higher handset prices, a slower business market
and higher churn were to blame. The industry

The company said net income rose to C$365 million ($277.36
million), or 61 Canadian cents a share, in the three months to
the end of September, from C$355 million, or 58 Canadian cents a
share, a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, Telus earned 66 Canadian cents per
share.

Analysts had on average expected Telus to earn 64 Canadian
cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Operating revenue rose to C$3.16 billion, inline with
expectations.

Telus’ Internet-based Optik TV product helped the company
add 24,000 Internet customers, while traditional phone line
connections continued to drop off.

Optik is steadily eating into the dominant position of
Telus’ cable rival Shaw Communications Inc in Canada’s
West.

Telus said it would increase its quarterly dividend by 10
percent to 44 Canadian cents a share.

The company reiterated its 2015 earnings forecasts, but
doubled its expected restructuring costs to C$250 million.

It said it will reduce its workforce by around 1,500 people
over the next several quarters, with an eye to saving C$100
million to C$125 million a year.
($1 = 1.3160 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Alastair Sharp Editing by W Simon)

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TSX falls as oil slide, Fed rate hike risk weigh http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/04/canada-stocks-idUSL1N12Z3N420151104?feedType=RSS&feedName=everything&virtualBrandChannel=11563 http://blogs.reuters.com/alastair-sharp/2015/11/04/tsx-falls-as-oil-slide-fed-rate-hike-risk-weigh/#comments Wed, 04 Nov 2015 21:59:57 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/alastair-sharp/?p=5154 TORONTO, Nov 4 (Reuters) – Canada’s main stock index fell on
Wednesday as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s comments in
support of a possible U.S. interest rate hike in December
broadly weighed on equity markets and commodity prices.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index
ended down 48.49 points, or 0.35 percent, at
13,661.82, with resource stocks particularly hard hit.

The materials group fell 1.4 percent and energy stocks
slipped 0.6 percent, as gold slid to a one-month low and
oil fell 4 percent.

“The market’s reacted as if the Fed could raise rates in
December, and as a result you saw a sell-off in both the U.S.
market and in the Canadian market, you saw a sell-off in gold,
you saw the sell-off in energy prices,” said Macan Nia, a
director for capital markets and strategy at Manulife Asset
Management.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc fell 5.1
percent to C$121.20 as a U.S. Senate panel launched a probe into
drug pricing, for which the company has come under heavy
scrutiny.

On the positive side, ProMetic Life Sciences Inc
jumped 9.5 percent to C$2.54 after it said its plasminogen
replacement therapy, currently going through U.S. clinical
trials, had been successfully used to treat an infant in
Germany.

Technology company CGI Group Inc gained 4.3
percent to close at C$53.03 after hitting its highest since May
20.

Decliners outnumbered advancing issues by 143 to 93, for a
1.54-to-1 ratio on the downside.

(Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and
James Dalgleish)

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TSX rises on energy gains, RBC outshines peers http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/03/canada-stocks-idUSL1N12Y3CY20151103?feedType=RSS&feedName=everything&virtualBrandChannel=11563 http://blogs.reuters.com/alastair-sharp/2015/11/03/tsx-rises-on-energy-gains-rbc-outshines-peers/#comments Tue, 03 Nov 2015 21:56:16 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/alastair-sharp/?p=5152 TORONTO, Nov 3 (Reuters) – Canada’s main stock index rose on
Tuesday with lift from a move higher in Royal Bank of Canada
after it avoided the need to set aside additional
capital, and by solid gains in energy sector shares as oil
prices jumped on supply disruptions.

The heavyweight energy group climbed 3.4 percent, with
Cenovus Energy Inc leaping 5.6 percent to C$21.61 and
Crescent Point Energy Co surging 6.8 percent to
C$19.55.

“I believe you’re seeing some portfolio managers tip-toe
back into some of the beaten-up stocks in this sector that
represent good, solid, long-term value,” said Rick Hutcheon,
president and chief operating officer at RKH Investments.

Pipeline operator TransCanada Corp added 0.5
percent to C$44.44 after asking the U.S. government to suspend a
review of its controversial Keystone XL project.

The most influential gainer was Royal Bank of Canada
, which gained 1.5 percent to C$75.75, compared to a 0.3
percent gain for the overall financials group.

The country’s largest bank avoided a widely expected
designation from the Financial Stability Board as a global,
systemically important bank, which would have forced it to have
a higher capital position.

“The cheer was heard all the way from Bay Street to St.
Clair where I am,” said Barry Schwartz, portfolio manager at
Baskin Financial Services.

“It’s the regulators saying you’re OK, you’re not going to
be covered under these new regulations that will force you to
have more capital that will constrain your ability to grow.”

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index
closed up 87.30 points, or 0.64 percent, at 13,710.31.

Nine of the index’s 10 main groups were in positive
territory, with advancers outnumbering decliners at a 1.6-to-1
ratio.

U.S. crude prices settled up 3.8 percent to $47.90 a
barrel, while Brent crude added 3.3 percent to $50.42,
supported by a strike by oil workers in Brazil and force majeure
for Libyan crude loadings.

(Reporting by Alastair Sharp and Fergal Smith; Editing by
Meredith Mazzilli and David Gregorio)

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Valeant pulls down TSX; resource and bank stocks weigh http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/30/canada-stocks-idUSL1N12U2Q120151030?feedType=RSS&feedName=everything&virtualBrandChannel=11563 http://blogs.reuters.com/alastair-sharp/2015/10/30/valeant-pulls-down-tsx-resource-and-bank-stocks-weigh/#comments Fri, 30 Oct 2015 20:34:05 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/alastair-sharp/?p=5150 TORONTO, Oct 30 (Reuters) – Canada’s main stock index fell
sharply on Friday, pushed lower by a slump in Valeant
Pharmaceuticals International Inc after it cut ties
with a specialty pharmacy accused of helping it inflate revenue,
and by retreats in heavyweight banks.

The most influential single weight on the index was Valeant,
which fell 17.7 percent after it said it will sever ties with
Philidor Rx Services in the wake of criticism over the
relationship between the two closely associated companies.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index
closed down 262.71 points, or 1.90 percent, at
13,529.17. All 10 of its main groups fell. It lost 3 percent on
the week but gained 1.7 percent through October.

“Much of the action has been caused by the collapse of
Valeant,” said Elvis Picardo, strategist and vice president of
research at Global Securities in Vancouver.

“The weakness in crude oil hasn’t helped as well,” he said.

The overall energy group retreated 0.4 percent, with Husky
Energy Inc down 12.8 percent to C$17.67 after swinging
to a quarterly loss on a writedown and impairment charge.

U.S. crude prices recovered from early losses to rise
0.8 percent to $46.42 a barrel.

Barrick Gold fell 2.5 percent to C$10.05. The
world’s biggest gold producer said on Thursday it will increase
its focus on productivity gains in 2016.

The materials group, which includes miners, fell 1.6
percent, with fertilizer company Potash Corp down 3.1
percent at C$26.48, a day after cutting its output and earnings
forecast.

Financials retreated 1.9 percent, with Royal Bank of Canada
down 2.2 percent to C$74.77.

(Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Dan Grebler and James
Dalgleish)

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Bombardier slumps, materials weigh on TSX fall http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/29/canada-stocks-idUSL1N12T42B20151029?feedType=RSS&feedName=everything&virtualBrandChannel=11563 http://blogs.reuters.com/alastair-sharp/2015/10/29/bombardier-slumps-materials-weigh-on-tsx-fall/#comments Thu, 29 Oct 2015 21:14:32 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/alastair-sharp/?p=5148 TORONTO, Oct 29 (Reuters) – Canada’s main stock index fell
on Thursday, with sliding commodity prices hurting miners, while
Bombardier Inc plunged after reporting a massive
quarterly loss and Potash Corp fell on trimmed earnings
and sales forecasts.

The losses were offset by gains in the heavyweight energy
sector amid volatile oil market trade.

Bombardier shed 15.5 percent to C$1.36 after the
Montreal-based plane and train maker said the Quebec government
will invest $1 billion in its long-delayed CSeries jet program
and announced a $4.6 billion third-quarter loss.

The decline came a day after the market jumped following the
U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision to hold interest rates steady.

“It was a consolidation day,” said Colin Cieszynski, chief
market strategist at CMC Markets. “The Street was basically
digesting the big moves yesterday,” he said, adding that
investors are coming around to the reality of an eventual Fed
hike.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index
ended down 71.28 points, or 0.51 percent, at
13,791.88.

There were 135 declining issues versus 101 gainers.

Goldcorp Inc lost 10.2 percent to C$17.32 as the
price of gold fell for a second day, reaching its lowest level
in three weeks.

Potash Corp fell 3 percent to C$27.32 after the world’s
biggest fertilizer company by capacity said it was cutting
production as economic pressures weigh on demand for potash, a
crop nutrient.

First Quantum Minerals Ltd shed 10.7 percent to
C$6.66.

Copper prices hit a three-week low, hurt by data
pointing to weaker U.S. economic growth.

On the positive side, Suncor Energy Inc gained 3.4
percent to C$38.81 and Cenovus Energy added 2.8 percent to
C$19.78, while the overall energy group rose 0.6 percent.

U.S. crude prices were up 1.4 percent to $46.56 a
barrel, while Brent added 0.3 percent to $49.20.

The financial sector slipped 0.4 percent, with insurer
Manulife Financial off 1.5 percent at C$22.23 and Bank
of Montreal slipping 1 percent to C$76.93.

(Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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Canada court orders tobacco companies to set aside almost C$1 bln http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/28/canada-tobacco-idUSL1N12R3HQ20151028?feedType=RSS&feedName=everything&virtualBrandChannel=11563 http://blogs.reuters.com/alastair-sharp/2015/10/28/canada-court-orders-tobacco-companies-to-set-aside-almost-c1-bln/#comments Wed, 28 Oct 2015 00:44:14 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/alastair-sharp/?p=5146 TORONTO, Oct 27 (Reuters) – A Canadian appeal court on
Tuesday ordered two major tobacco companies to set aside a
combined C$984 million ($742 million) while they challenge
billions of dollars in damages awarded to smokers in the
province of Quebec.

The more than C$15 billion in damages awarded in June, if
upheld in an appeal of two class-action lawsuits, would
compensate some 100,000 Quebec smokers and ex-smokers who allege
the companies knew since the 1950s that their product was
causing cancer and other illnesses and failed to warn consumers
adequately.

Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd – a subsidiary of British
American Tobacco Plc – must put aside C$758 million,
and Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc – a subsidiary of Philip
Morris International – must deposit C$226 million, the
Quebec Court of Appeal said.

Imperial said it was disappointed with the decision, as it
does not believe it should have to secure a payment before all
appeals are exhausted and a final judgment is rendered.

“Imperial Tobacco Canada continues to disagree with the
overall judgment rendered by the Superior Court of Quebec,” it
said in a statement. “It is unjustified to hold legal
manufacturers responsible for the personal choices of adult
consumers and it will continue to defend that position as its
appeals proceed.”

The court in July said that the two companies plus a third,
Japan Tobacco Inc’s JTI-Macdonald Corp, would not have
to make preliminary deposits.

“This is a major win for victims and a significant loss for
tobacco companies,” Rob Cunningham, a senior policy analyst at
the Canadian Cancer Society, said via email.

Launched in 1998, the class action was considered to be the
largest civil case in Canadian history, marking the first time
tobacco companies have gone to trial in a civil suit in the
country.

The companies were ordered to set aside the deposits in six
and seven quarterly payments stretching to mid-2017, while a
hearing on the appeal is scheduled for the autumn of 2016.

($1 = 1.3266 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Additional reporting by Jeffrey
Hodgson; Editing by Chris Reese, Cynthia Osterman and Leslie
Adler)

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Canada court orders tobacco giants to set aside almost C$1 bln http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/27/canada-tobacco-idUSL1N12R3HQ20151027?feedType=RSS&feedName=everything&virtualBrandChannel=11563 http://blogs.reuters.com/alastair-sharp/2015/10/27/canada-court-orders-tobacco-giants-to-set-aside-almost-c1-bln/#comments Tue, 27 Oct 2015 22:34:17 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/alastair-sharp/?p=5144 TORONTO, Oct 27 (Reuters) – A Canadian appeal court on
Tuesday ordered two major tobacco companies to set aside a
combined C$984 million ($742 million) while they challenge
billions of dollars in damages awarded to smokers in the
province of Quebec.

The more than C$15 billion in damages awarded in June, if
upheld in an appeal of two class-action lawsuits, would
compensate some 100,000 Quebec smokers and ex-smokers who allege
the companies knew since the 1950s their product was causing
cancer and other illnesses and failed to warn consumers
adequately.

Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd – a subsidiary of British
American Tobacco Plc – must put aside C$758 million and
Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc – a subsidiary of Philip Morris
International – must deposit C$226 million, the Quebec
Court of Appeal said.

The court had in July said that the two companies plus a
third, Japan Tobacco Inc’s JTI-Macdonald Corp, would
not have to make preliminary deposits.

“This is a major win for victims, and a significant loss for
tobacco companies,” Rob Cunningham, a senior policy analyst at
the Canadian Cancer Society, said via email.

Launched in 1998, the class action was considered to be the
largest civil case in Canadian history, marking the first time
tobacco companies have gone to trial in a civil suit in the
country.

The companies were ordered to set aside the deposits in six
and seven quarterly payments stretching to mid-2017, while a
hearing on the appeal is scheduled for the autumn of 2016.

($1 = 1.3266 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Chris Reese and
Cynthia Osterman)

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TSX down on oil price fall, Fed jitters http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/27/canada-stocks-idUSL1N12R37720151027?feedType=RSS&feedName=everything&virtualBrandChannel=11563 http://blogs.reuters.com/alastair-sharp/2015/10/27/tsx-down-on-oil-price-fall-fed-jitters/#comments Tue, 27 Oct 2015 20:55:30 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/alastair-sharp/?p=5142 TORONTO, Oct 27 (Reuters) – Canada’s main stock index fell
on Tuesday, hurt by a pullback in shares of the country’s two
main railways and losses among industrial, utility and energy
stocks as oil fell to a multi-week low and investors braced for
a Federal Reserve policy statement.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index
ended down 91.30 points, or 0.66 percent, at
13,699.60.

The heavyweight financial sector was the only one of the
index’s 10 main groups to gain, and declining issues outnumbered
advancers by a 3.5-to-1 ratio.

Canadian National Railway Co lost 2.8 percent to
C$79.51, pulling back ahead of its earnings after a solid rally.
It reported an 18 percent rise in profit after the bell, but
said it expects commodity volumes to slip.

Its rival Canadian Pacific Railway lost 4.7 percent
to C$191.76.

The energy group lost 2 percent, while industrial stocks
fell 2.9 percent and utilities gave up 1.7 percent.

Canadian Natural Resources fell 2.5 percent to
C$29.57 and Suncor Energy lost 0.9 percent to C$36.71.

U.S. crude prices settled down 1.8 percent at $43.20
a barrel, while Brent lost 1.5 percent to $46.81.

“I do not see a catalyst to take the price of oil higher,”
said Allan Small, a senior investment advisor at HollisWealth.
“I would challenge anyone to find me a reason to buy an oil
stock or the actual commodity itself.”

He said yield-sensitive stocks such as utilities and
telecoms could come under further pressure if the Fed shocks
markets with an interest rate rise on Wednesday or even lays out
a path to an eventual tightening of policy.

On the positive side of the ledger, Restaurant Brands
International Inc advanced 5.3 percent to C$52.84. The
owner of Burger King and coffee chain Tim Hortons beat earnings
expectations.

Commercial real estate company Colliers International Group
jumped 10.4 percent to C$60.90 after its earnings.

Financial technology company D+H Corp gained 2.3
percent to C$32.85 after reporting better-than-expected
quarterly results and dismissing a hedge fund report questioning
its growth prospects and accounting practices. The
stock had fallen almost 17 percent on Monday.

The overall financials group added 0.4 percent, with
Toronto-Dominion Bank up 1.2 percent at C$54.87 and Bank
of Nova Scotia adding 0.7 percent to C$62.22.

(Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Nick Zieminski and
James Dalgleish)

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