CANADA STOCKS-Gold miners help TSX pare losses

Wed May 23, 2012 2:01pm EDT
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* 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
    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
    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.