* TSX down 52.97 points, or 0.41 percent, at 12,720.15
* TransCanada gains after environment report backs Keystone
* Gloomy global outlook hurts resource companies, banks
By Alastair Sharp
TORONTO, March 4 Canada's main stock index fell
on Monday, hurt by slips in heavyweight banking and mining
stocks as global economic worries returned to the fore, while
TransCanada Corp rose after a positive environmental
report about a contentious pipeline project.
Political stalemate in Italy and China's plans for tighter
controls on its property sector added to concern about slower
global growth, which in turn hurt Canada's resource-rich index.
"We're back to the worries about the international economic
situation, it started with the Italian election and then the
economic numbers coming out of Germany and China," said John
Kinsey, a portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities. "Europe and
China still seem quite sluggish, as does Japan."
At mid-morning the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX
composite index was down 52.97 points, or 0.41
percent, at 12,720.15.
Offsetting the broad losses -- seven of ten main sectors
were trading in the red -- was leading pipeline company
TransCanada, after a U.S. government report said its contentious
Keystone XL pipeline project would not increase development of
Canada's oil sands.
Its shares last traded up 0.7 percent at C$48.14, giving it
the most positive effect on the index.
Weak heavy oil prices, largely due to limited pipeline
capacity to ship surging supplies from the Alberta oil sands to
export markets, and long-depressed natural gas markets have
combined to hamper energy-producer stocks in Canada.
"It's something that's badly needed and it would be a plus
if indeed it does go through," Kinsey said.
A final U.S. decision on approving or rejecting Keystone is
expected by August.
The release of the report failed to boost other stocks that
would likely gain from the pipeline, with Canadian Natural
Resources Ltd, the country's largest independent oil
explorer and producer, falling 1.9 percent to C$31.43 and
Cenovus Energy Inc off 1.8 percent at C$32.15.
Royal Bank of Canada slipped 0.5 percent to C$63.46,
after beating earnings expectations last week.
Bank of Nova Scotia, which reports on Tuesday,
dipped 0.5 percent to C$60.83.