Gold miners drag TSX lower after U.S. jobs data

Fri Jul 5, 2013 5:02pm EDT
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By John Tilak

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index fell on Friday after a robust U.S. jobs report revived worries that the U.S. Federal Reserve might be set to roll back its stimulus program, a concern that hit both bullion prices and gold-mining shares.

Shares of gold producers dropped nearly 3 percent as the jobs figures diminished the safe-haven appeal of bullion. Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO: Quote), the world's largest gold miner, lost close to 5 percent of its market value and hit its lowest level in about 21 years.

Friday's data showed U.S. job growth was stronger than expected in June and that the employment count for the previous two months was higher than initially reported.

"It's good news for the economy but bad news for the people who think that quantitative easing is going to be here forever. It's not," said Irwin Michael, portfolio manager at ABC Funds.

"Once you get palpable results that the economy is getting better, you don't want to see the Fed poking around too much," he added. "You want to see the economy getting stronger on its own."

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 31.75 points, or 0.26 percent, at 12,134.91.

Six of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the red.

The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, declined the most among the major groups, giving back 1.6 percent. Most commodity prices fell on Friday as the jobs figures pushed up the U.S. dollar, which made greenback-priced commodities more expensive.   Continued...

A sign displays TSX information in Toronto October 6, 2008. REUTERS/Mark Blinch