TSX slips as gold miners weigh, banks trade higher

Mon Dec 30, 2013 4:40pm EST
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By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index slipped marginally in light trade on Monday, with major gold miners weighing heavily as bullion headed for its worst annual performance in 32 years, while gains for some financial stocks softened the blow.

Two of the world's largest gold producers had the most negative impact on the index, with Goldcorp Inc (G.TO: Quote) falling 3.7 percent to C$22.25 and Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO: Quote) off 2.6 percent at C$18.20.

Still, the index wasn't far off its Friday peak, which was the highest level seen since mid-2011. Investors expressed optimism that 2014 will exceed that roughly 9 percent gain the Toronto index is on track to notch this year.

"I think commodities will outperform next year," said Marcus Xu, a portfolio manager at MY Capital Management in Vancouver.

Canada is home to an abundance of resource-related companies, whose struggles have partly explained the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE underperformance versus U.S. indexes this year.

Xu said the price of various resources was weighed down by investors concerned about Chinese growth and troubles in China's financial and real estate sectors, and that those issues were being resolved after a leadership transition.

The Canadian index has sharply underperformed the broad S&P 500 .SPX index, whose 30 percent gain has driven it to all-time highs.

The annual gain for the S&P 500 and other U.S. indexes was supported by the U.S. Federal Reserve's massive stimulus efforts, which the central bank only this month decided to start to trim.   Continued...

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