Canada's main stock market drifted lower on Thursday amid the escalating geopolitical tensions in Ukraine and a series of solid earning reports.
Toronto Stock Exchange's benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index lost 83.66 points or 0.55 percent to 15,118.43 points, with six of the eight most weighed sectors in the red.
Although a string of solid earnings reports lifted TSX on the opening bell Thursday, traders were rattled by the escalating conflict between the West and Russia. In a move to retaliate against the West's sanctions, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Thursday that Russia is imposing a ban on food imports from the European Union and the United States.
The most-heavily sector financials lost 0.79 percent when Sun Life Financial Inc. tumbled 2.55 percent to 40.10 Canadian dollars (about 36.72 U.S. dollars) and Toronto-Dominion Bank losing 0.85 percent to 55.94 Canadian dollars per share.
Shares of the mining sector plunged 1.34 percent, with the basic metals giant Teck down 1.66 percent to 25.40 Canadian dollars. However, its sub-sector, the gold group was trading slightly higher with S&P/TSX Global Gold Index up 0.28 percent. The world's biggest gold producer Barrick advanced 0.65 percent to 20.18 Canadian dollars, and Goldcorp Inc. also rallied 0.46 percent to 30.89 Canadian dollars.
In other sectors, info tech lost 1.06 percent and energy moved down 0.7 percent.
The health care sector rose 1.88 percent. Extendicare Inc. soared 7.33 percent to 7.91 Canadian dollars apiece. The senior care services provider announced its earnings report on Wednesday after the closing bell, and its consolidated revenue improved by 12.3 million U.S. dollars in the second quarter.
In corporate news, Air Canada shares slumped amid concerns about smaller margins despite it reported strong second-quarter financial results on Wednesday.
The Canadian biggest air liner said its adjusted net income increased 21 percent to 139 million Canadian dollars in the second quarter of this year. However, its yield, or average fare per mile, declined 2.1 percent in the second quarter. The Chief Executive Officer Calin Rovinescu said yields will continue to fall this year as the airline adds more economy class seats and operates longer flights with a view to boosting profit.
Following the news, Air Canada's shares dived to 8.5 Canadian dollars per share by 8.21 percent, the biggest decline in a single trading day since June 12.
On the economic front, Statistics Canada said Thursday that contractors took out building permits worth 8.0 billion Canadian dollars in June, up 13.5 percent from May. The June increase was mainly due to higher construction intentions for institutional and industrial buildings in Quebec and commercial buildings in Alberta.
On the currency front, the Canadian dollar Thursday was lower to 0.9157 U.S. dollar from 0.9163 U.S. dollar on Wednesday..