Gold mining shares decline, soft financials drag TSX lower

Wed Apr 22, 2015 5:09pm EDT
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By Solarina Ho

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index slipped on Wednesday, driven by steep declines among gold miners and a retreat among heavily-weighted banks.

Modest gains among energy names offset some of the losses despite volatile trade in crude oil.

Concern over the Greek debt crisis sparked general investor caution, and aspects of the Conservative federal government's budget seen as harmful to financial shares helped push the banks and insurers, which make up some 35 percent of the index's weight, down around 0.3 percent.

"We are seeing some weakness in the financials, most of that is due to some of the budget changes," said Youssef Zohny, a portfolio manager at StennerZohny Investment Partners of Richardson GMP Ltd, referring to provisions to close a tax loophole and strengthen consumer protections.

Royal Bank of Canada declined 0.4 percent to C$79.99, while Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce slipped 1.1 percent to C$96.00.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index ended the day down 41.67 points, or 0.27 percent, at 15,304.77.

"People are also concerned about debt levels of the consumer, concerned about housing, concerned about the general sluggishness of the Canadian economy," said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier.

Six of the index's 10 main sectors ended lower, with major gold miners among the biggest drags as bullion fell. The overall materials group, ended 2.1 percent lower.   Continued...

A man walks past an old Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) sign in Toronto, June 23, 2014.  REUTERS/Mark Blinch