CANADA STOCKS-Gold miners help TSX pare losses
* TSX down 43.78 pts, or 0.4 pct, to 11,408 * Energy, financials sell off on Europe fears * Materials rally on gold miners * Euro zone woes overshadow good bank earnings By Jon Cook TORONTO, May 23 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index recouped some losses on Wednesday afternoon as gold miners rallied, offsetting steep early declines on worries about Greece's possible exit from the euro zone. Canada's sub-index of gold miners jumped more than 2 percent, as a plunge in bullion near key technical support levels around $1,525 an ounce prompted buying of oversold gold stocks. Gains were led by top gold producers Barrick Gold, up 3.6 percent at C$39.85, and Goldcorp Inc, which rose 4.5 percent to C$37.53. Other gold miners were not as fortunate. Romarco Minerals plummeted more than 22 percent near a three-year low at $0.63 on Wednesday after the small cap miner said a federal wetland permit for its flagship gold project in South Carolina will take longer than it expected. At 1:33 p.m., the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was down 43.78 points, or 0.4 percent, to 11,408.0, rebounding after hitting a session low of 11,260.04. Euro zone fears escalated after each euro zone country was told to prepare a contingency plan for the eventuality of Greece leaving the bloc's currency, three euro zone sources told Reuters on Wednesday, citing an agreement reached by officials. "People are way too concerned with Greece to be committing any money," said Mike Newton, associate director and portfolio manager at Macquarie Private Wealth Inc. Nearly all of Canada's 10 main sectors were down, led by the energy group, which fell 1.5 percent. Oil and gas firms were hurt by another drop in oil prices, with U.S. crude slipping near $90 a barrel on Wednesday. Suncor Energy slid 1.4 percent to C$27.90, Canadian Natural Resources was down 1.2 percent at C$30.62, and Enbridge Inc was off 1.3 percent at C$40.63. Separately, the World Bank cut its economic growth forecast for China this year to 8.2 percent on Wednesday and urged the country to rely on easier fiscal policy that boosts consumption rather than state investment to lift activity. The weak global growth outlook overshadowed a strong start to the second-quarter earnings season by Canada's top six banks. Bank of Montreal shares edged up 0.5 percent to C$55.52, after the country's fourth largest lender reporting its quarterly profit rose a stronger-than-expected 27 percent. Newton called the BMO results "good," adding the market's reaction likely would have been better had they been released last Friday or Monday when stocks were up. "This is only a reflection of what's going on in Europe," he said. Overall, the influential financial group was still down 0.6 percent, led by Toronto-Dominion Bank, which dipped 0.7 percent to C$77.28. Royal Bank of Canada shares fell 0.3 percent to C$52.02. Canaccord Financial Inc shares plunged more than 9 percent to C$6 after the Toronto-based financial services provider reported a fiscal fourth-quarter net loss of C$31.8 million on Wednesday. A year earlier, it posted profit of C$41.3 million. In other news, Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd's shares dropped 1.8 percent to C$73.60 on news that a strike at the country's No. 2 railroad will delay at least 162,000 tonnes of grain sold to Canadian Wheat Board buyers, a senior CWB official said on Wednesday.
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