Healthcare, tech stocks push TSX lower, TD Bank slips on quarterly profit miss

By Siddarth S

(Reuters) -Toronto stocks inched lower in choppy trading on Thursday as healthcare and technology stocks led the declines, while the Canada’s second largest bank Toronto-Dominion fell after it missed profit estimates on bigger credit-loss provisions.

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At 10:26 a.m. ET (1426 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 25.99 points, or 0.13%, at 19,853.8.

Healthcare fell 2.1%, leading sectoral declines, while technology slipped 1.3%.

Heavy-weight financials sector gained 0.2% as shares of Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) rose 1.5% after the country’s largest bank reported better-than-expected quarterly profit.

However, limiting gains among financials, Toronto-Dominion Bank shares fell 1.9%, after the company missed estimates for quarterly profit, hurt by higher expenses and rainy day funds to cover for unpaid loans.

TD Bank was among the worst performers on the benchmark index.

Earnings of the big six Canada banks have started on a mixed note, with Bank of Nova Scotia, Bank of Montreal, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and National Bank of Canada set to report quarterly results next week.

“It’s (banks) cautionary(on loan loss provisions),” said Thomas Caldwell, chairman at Caldwell Securities Ltd.

“Canadian banks really have very robust loan loss provisions that should accommodate what we would perceive or consider to be a normal slowdown. I don’t see that as particularly challenging.”

Among individual companies, communications firm BCE Inc rose 1.4%, after brokerage National Bank of Canada upgraded the stock.

Data showed Canadian factory sales most likely rose 0.7% in July from June due in parts to increases in the petroleum and coal product, food, and primary metal subsectors.

(Reporting by Siddarth S in Bengaluru, Editing by Tasim Zahid and Shweta Agarwal)

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