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CANADA STOCKS-TSX ends down as financials, commodity stocks retreat

(Adds portfolio manager comment, updates prices to close)

* TSX ends down 71.92 points, or 0.46 percent, at 15,490.49

* Seven of the TSX's 10 main groups fall

By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO, March 17 Canada's benchmark stock index fell on Friday as financial stocks lost ground along with bond yields and as natural resource companies pulled back despite an uptick in commodity prices.

The heavyweight financials group lost 0.6 percent, with insurance company Manulife Financial Corp down 1.5 percent at C$24.13 and Brookfield Asset Management Inc off 0.8 percent at C$48.47.

The country's biggest banks fell between 0.4 and 1 percent.

The moves echoed similar slips on Wall Street as the effects of the U.S. Federal Reserve's less aggressive stance on future rate hikes from earlier in the week lingered.

"This week everything was waiting with bated breath for what the Fed was going to say," said Irwin Michael, portfolio manager at ABC Funds. "The question was what sort of commentary that'd give on the guidance, and they indicated it would be slow but steady."

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index ended down 71.92 points, or 0.46 percent, at 15,490.49. The index slipped 0.1 over the week.

Seven of the index's 10 main groups ended in negative territory, with decliners outnumbering gainers by 2.3 to 1.

"On balance, people are looking for liquidity in this market, because there is still a lot of uncertainty."

The telecom and utilities groups, which tend to receive more buying interest when investors are feeling defensive, both gained.

Telecom company BCE Inc advanced 1.3 percent to C$58.30 and rival Telus Corp added 0.5 percent to C$42.97.

The energy group fell 0.6 percent, with pipeline company Enbridge Inc down 1.3 percent at C$54.96, while the materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, fell 0.9 percent.

Dominion Diamond Corp jumped 12.2 percent to C$13.21 after providing a 2018 outlook late on Thursday.

Oil prices were steady, finishing the week with modest gains, but speculators sharply cut long positions during last week's rout, on concerns that an OPEC production cut was failing to reduce a global supply overhang.

Gold and copper prices rose.

Canada Goose added 6.8 percent to C$23.00 the day after it jumped nearly 27 percent from its initial public offering price of C$17 per share.

Canadian manufacturing sales unexpectedly rose in January for the third month in a row, helped by strength in non-durable goods, including petroleum and coal products, data from Statistics Canada showed on Friday. (Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Chizu Nomiyama)

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