TSX slides as mining, energy issues stumble
By Solarina Ho
TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock market finished lower on Friday as natural resource stocks slumped and market sentiment soured following U.S. economic growth data that fell short of expectations.
U.S. gross domestic product expanded at a 2.5 percent rate, an increase from the fourth quarter's dismal 0.4 percent pace but shy of the 3 percent growth analysts were hoping for. The weaker-than-expected data in Canada's biggest trading partner weighed on Canadian stocks.
The overall materials group, home to mining companies, gave back 3.1 percent, while the energy group fell 1.1 percent. Together, the two resource sectors make up some 40 percent of the index's weight.
Goldcorp Inc (G.TO: Quote) had the biggest negative drag on the index with its 4.2 percent slide to C$29.29. Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO, which reported lower quarterly profits this week, was down 3.3 percent at C$18.81. Base metal mining company First Quantum Minerals Ltd (FM.TO: Quote) plunged 7.4 percent to C$16.67.
The price of gold, which posted its biggest weekly gain in three months, finished lower as investors took profits ahead of the three-day May Day holiday in China. China is the second-largest gold consumer after India.
Copper prices retreated on the disappointing U.S. data, following two days of gains. <MET/L><GOL/>
"A lot of Asia's closed next week, so all the gold guys got nervous again today," said Paul Hand, managing director at RBC Capital Markets, who also noted the "outsized influence" commodities had on the Canadian stock market.
"I think if you look at the broad mood of the investors in Canada, the underperformance of the index this year versus the U.S. and/or some of the global markets is really quite evident." Continued...