CANADA STOCKS-TSX retreats as resources slip

Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:01am EDT
 
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* TSX down 52.66 points, or 0.43 pct, at 12,149.38
    * Eight of 10 sectors negative
    * Weak resources offset stronger financials

    By Claire Sibonney
    TORONTO, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index fell
on Monday, hitting its lowest level in more than five weeks as
soft commodity prices trumped positive sentiment over
stronger-than-expected U.S. economic data and company results.
    Gold miners and oil and natural gas producers were among the
heaviest decliners as oil prices eased on worries over global
demand, while safe-haven bullion fell on upbeat U.S. retail
sales numbers.  
    Barrick Gold dropped 1.7 percent to C$37.66,
Goldcorp Inc lost 1.6 percent to C$41.98 and Canadian
Natural Resources retreated 1.8 percent to C$29.71.
    Serge Pepin, head of investments at BMO Investments Inc,
noted however that the spread between gold miners and the price
of bullion has narrowed recently, a positive sign for the
sector.
    At 10:33 a.m. (1433 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's
S&P/TSX composite index was down 52.66 points, or 0.43
percent, at 12,149.38. Earlier, the index touched a session low
of 12,137.18, its weakest level since Sept. 6. Eight of the 10
sectors were negative.
    Financials were buoyed by sentiment on Wall Street, after
Citigroup posted adjusted earnings that surged from the
prior year and beat expectations. 
    Canadian banks and insurers are also expected to report
impressive earnings, offsetting poor financial results for
commodity producers. 
    Bank of Nova Scotia rose 0.3 percent to C$53.36 and
Manulife Financial climbed 0.3 percent to C$11.89. 
    On the data front, U.S. retail sales rose in September as
Americans bought more cars and gasoline, while retail sales,
excluding autos, gasoline and building materials, pointed to
stronger-than-expected economic growth in the third quarter.
 
    "There is quite a bit of uncertainty in the markets and
investors are sort of taking it slowly, but definitely the
economic news that we're receiving out of the U.S. is a step in
the right direction," added Pepin. 
    Meanwhile, recent numbers from China have clouded
expectations on whether it will take further steps to shore up
growth. A decline in the country's annual consumer price
inflation pointed to ample room for policy easing, but a strong
rebound in September exports suggested policy changes may not be
needed for now. 
    Investors, pointing to the euro zone debt crisis also
remained uncertain that Madrid will ask for financial aid, and 
whether or not Greece can agree on new austerity measures with
its indebted lenders.