TORONTO (Reuters) – Canada’s main stock index fell to a 1-1/2 week low on Friday, led by gold stocks such as Goldcorp Inc and Barrick Gold Corp , as the price of the precious metal tumbled to a six-month low on weakening investor demand.
The decline outweighed gains made by telecom stocks, Rogers Communications Inc and Telus Corp , which reported robust quarterly results.
Economic data showed U.S. manufacturing got off to a weak start this year as motor vehicle assembly tumbled, and Canadian manufacturing sales recorded the biggest decline in about 3-1/2 years in December.
Investors also followed developments from the G20 meeting in Moscow, looking for signs in its final communique of the direction currencies might be heading after a period of heightened volatility.
The biggest impact on the market was resource prices, with gold tumbling to a six-month low on weak investor demand, currency uncertainty and a dearth of physical demand from China due to the Lunar New Year holiday.
“Gold always sells off ahead of the G20 meetings,” said John Ing, president of Maison Placements Canada.
“A currency war is going on. There’s the fear that central banks who are trying to protect their currencies might threaten gold sales.”
At midmorning, the Toronto Stock Exchange‘s S&P/TSX composite index <.gsptse> was down 25.20 points, or 0.20 percent, at 12,696.59, after dropping earlier to 12,686.21, its lowest point since February 4. Six of the 10 main sectors on the index were trading higher.</.gsptse>
The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, slid 2 percent. Goldcorp fell 2.5 percent to C$ 33.82 despite posting a lower-than-expected drop in adjusted quarterly profit on Thursday. Rival miner Barrick Gold fell 1.7 percent to C$ 31.90.
Energy shares slipped 0.4 percent as oil prices fell, with Suncor Energy Inc declining 0.9 percent to C$ 31.90.
The telecoms sector added 1.6 percent. Rogers, the country’s biggest wireless company, posted a 30 percent rise in adjusted quarterly profit, increased its dividend and said its chief executive would leave the company early next year. Its shares gained 4 percent to C$ 47.29.
Telus, another telecom giant, posted a 23 percent rise in quarterly profit, helped by strong growth in its wireless business. The stock was up 1.3 percent to C$ 67.63.
Financials, the index’s weightiest sector, rose 0.3 percent.
(Editing by Bernadette Baum)
Economy News Headlines – Yahoo! News
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