TSX ends flat as RIM buckles, gold miners bounce

Fri Dec 21, 2012 5:23pm EST
 

By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index ended little changed on Friday as gold miners gained on safe-haven buying amid U.S. budget uncertainty, while BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd RIM.TO plunged more than 20 percent.

The index's materials sector, which includes miners, rose 0.4 percent. Even though the price of gold was near its lowest level in four months, the gold-mining sub-sector added 0.9 percent as investors fretted over stalled U.S. budget talks that could throw Canada's largest trading partner back into recession. <GOL/>

"As our tiptoes are over the (U.S.) fiscal cliff and we're looking over the abyss, the markets are upset obviously, and this is sort of putting a damper on the stocks," said John Ing, president of Maison Placements Canada.

"But we've had a mixed reaction in Canada, mainly because the resources have been much better, like gold for example, which is hedging into the uncertainty (around the budget talks)," he said, noting gold miners had been under pressure for the last two weeks.

Miner Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO: Quote) edged up 0.2 percent to C$33.29. Centerra Gold Inc (CG.TO: Quote) jumped more than 3 percent to C$9.10.

Gold miners are playing catch-up after underperforming throughout the year and could rise further in 2013, said Gavin Graham, president at Graham Investment Strategy.

Shares of RIM dropped 22.2 percent to C$10.86 on fears that a new fee structure for its high-margin services segment could put pressure on the business that has set the company apart from its competitors.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE fell 3.01 points, or 0.02 percent, to end at 12,385.70. It gained 0.7 percent for the week.   Continued...

 
A Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) logo is seen in Toronto November 9, 2007. REUTERS/Mark Blinch