TSX takes a breather after seven-week selloff

Mon Apr 16, 2012 5:29pm EDT
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By Claire Sibonney

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index paused on Monday after posting its seventh straight weekly loss in the last session, as concerns over Europe's debt crisis and slowing growth in China offset some better-than-expected U.S. economic data.

Among the most influential decliners on the index, Barrick Gold (ABX.TO: Quote) fell 1.7 percent to C$40.79, Silver Wheaton SLW.TO tumbled 4.7 percent to C$29.67 and First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO: Quote) lost 3.4 percent to C$20.88.

"People are starting to bet that the repeat of the selloff of 2010 and the repeat of another selloff in 2011 is probably going to occur in this environment... I have a difficult time wanting to swallow the whole assumption," said Sid Mokhtari, market technician at CIBC.

"People have already been reducing so much exposure to some of these commodity names, I don't see much of a significant downside."

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended down 2.80 points, or 0.02 percent, at 12,037.59 Five of the 10 sectors were in negative territory, including materials, off 1.4 percent.

Financials and telecoms were among the biggest gainers, up 0.7 percent and 0.4 percent respectively. All of the five big banks were higher, led by Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO: Quote), up 0.9 percent to C$82.70 and Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO: Quote), up 1 percent to C$54.63.

"Those are two areas of course where people, while they don't know what to do in the market, look at these as buy-and-hold things simply for the dividend payments because they're very attractive in today's interest rate environment," said Fred Ketchen, director of equity trading at Scotia McLeod.

Investors were also anxious for earnings season to pick up south of the border, where a 4 percent slide in Apple (AAPL.O: Quote) hurt confidence. .N   Continued...