CANADA STOCKS-TSX closes down on gold, energy; Manulife slips

Thu Sep 4, 2014 5:27pm EDT
 
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By Allison Martell and Alastair Sharp
    TORONTO, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index closed
lower on Thursday, hurt by a decline in gold miners and energy
stocks as the price of gold fell and oil slipped on a surprise
European Central Bank rate cut.
    Manulife Financial Corp also dragged on the index
after it announced late on Wednesday that it would buy the
Canadian operations of Britain's Standard Life in a
near-$4 billion deal. 
    Barrick Gold Corp was the biggest weight, down 4.2
percent at C$18.51 as spot gold slipped. Rival Goldcorp Inc
 was also influential, falling 3.0 percent to C$28.22.
 
    "Before you buy a gold stock, spray your hands three times
with hand sanitizer," said Barry Schwartz, a portfolio manager
at Baskin Financial. "Don't let anybody tell you that they're
value investments."
    Schwartz said an improving global economy could badly hurt
the price of gold.
    The heavyweight energy sector also fell, with Canadian
Natural Resources Ltd slipping 1.5 percent to C$45.38.
Crude oil futures were lower after the European Central Bank's
rate cut boosted the dollar, hitting commodities priced in the
U.S. currency.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 closed down 80.84 points, or 0.52 percent, at
15,576.79.
    The consumer staples sector gained as Alimentation
Couche-Tard, a convenience store and retail chain,
rose after several analysts raised their price target on the
stock. Couche-Tard earlier in the week reported
better-than-expected quarterly profit and its shares were up 3.5
percent at C$36.70. 
    WSP Global fell 3.9 percent to C$35.50 after it
said it would buy Balfour Beatty's U.S. professional
services division. Manulife closed down 1.4 percent at C$22.05.
 
    

 (Editing by Matthew Lewis)