CANADA STOCKS-TSX slips as insurance, energy shares lead decline

Reuters

(Adds details, comments from fund manager; updates prices) * TSX falls 36.58 points, or 0.25 percent, to 14,356.52 * Seven of 10 main index sectors decline * Potash slips after new CEO appointment By John Tilak TORONTO, April 7 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index fell on Monday, hit by a drop in the insurance sector and by weakness in shares of energy companies after the price of oil slipped.

Investors were still digesting Friday's U.S. labor market data, which showed a gain in jobs in March but fell short of market expectations.

Uncertainty about what this would mean for the Federal Reserve's monetary policy and when the U.S. central bank might raise interest rates increased market volatility, fueling a selloff in U.S. stocks on Friday. This weighed on shares of Canadian insurers for a second straight session.

"We're in for a rough sledding for a while," said John Stephenson, senior vice president and portfolio manager at First Asset Investment Management.

"People are very nervous," he added. "It's a market where investors are not looking for growth, but they just want some sort of yield." The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was down 36.58 points, or 0.25 percent, at 14,356.52.

Despite trading in negative territory for the last three sessions, the benchmark index is up about 5.7 percent this year.

"If the market drops 6 percent or more, this is a huge buying opportunity," said Stephenson.

He added that he does not expect a major correction, however. "I don't think the market will drop more than 3 or 4 percent, either the TSX or the S&P 500," Stephenson said.

Seven of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the red on Monday.

Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, were down 0.3 percent. Manulife Financial Corp gave back 1 percent to C$21.04, and Sun Life Financial Inc lost 1.2 percent to C$36.90.

Oil prices slipped, dragging with them shares of energy companies. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd was down 0.4 percent at C$43.48.

The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, inched up, with some stocks benefiting from a gain in the price of copper.

Shares of diversified miner Teck Resources Ltd jumped 1.8 percent to C$24.85.

In corporate news, Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc said on Sunday that former Inmet Mining Corp boss Jochen Tilk would become the world's biggest fertilizer company's next chief executive officer, replacing Bill Doyle.

Potash shares lost 1 percent to trade at C$37.45.

(Reporting by John Tilak; Editing by Tom Brown)

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