CANADA STOCKS-TSX takes a breather after 7-week selloff

Mon Apr 16, 2012 5:22pm EDT
 
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* TSX ends down 2.80 points at 12,037.59
    * Stronger financials offset weak commodities

    By Claire Sibonney	
    TORONTO, April 16 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
paused o n M onday after posting its seventh straight weekly loss
in the last session, as concerns over Europe's debt crisis and
slowing growth in China offset some better-than-expected U.S.
economic data.	
    Among the most influential decliners on the index, Barrick
Gold fell 1.7 percent to C$40.79, Silver Wheaton
 tumbled 4.7 percent to C$29.67 and First Quantum
Minerals lost 3.4 percent to C$20.88. 	
    "People are starting to bet that the repeat of the selloff
of 2010 and the repeat of another selloff in 2011 is probably
going to occur in this environment... I have a difficult time
wanting to swallow the whole assumption," said Sid Mokhtari,
market technician at CIBC.	
    "People have already been reducing so much exposure to some
of these commodity names, I don't see much of a significant
downside."	
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 ended down 2.80 points, or 0.02 percent, at 12,037.59
Five of the 10 sectors were in negative territory, including
materials, off 1.4 percent.	
    Financials and telecoms were among the biggest gainers, up
0.7 percent and 0.4 percent respectively. All of the five big
banks were higher, led by Toronto-Dominion Bank, up 0.9
percent to C$82.70 and Bank of Nova Scotia, up 1
percent to C$54.63. 	
    "Those are two areas of course where people, while they
don't know what to do in the market, look at these as
buy-and-hold things simply for the dividend payments because
they're very attractive in today's interest rate environment,"
said Fred Ketchen, director of equity trading at Scotia McLeod.	
    Investors were also anxious for earnings season to pick up
south of the border, where a 4 percent slide in Apple 
hurt confidence. 	
    Earnings season will pick up steam this week, with 86 S&P
500 companies scheduled to report results. According to Thomson
Reuters data through Monday, of the 34 S&P 500 companies to have
reported earnings so far, 76 percent have reported earnings
above analysts' expectations. 	
    On the economic data front, Americans shrugged off high
gasoline prices in March and spent more strongly than expected,
suggesting economic growth in the first quarter was probably not
as weak as many had feared. 	
    A recent string of soft economic data, highlighted by the
recent March U.S. payrolls report, increased worry the economic
recovery had begun to slow.   	
    Market sentiment in the euro zone was still on edge as
Spanish 10-year government bond yields broke
through the 6 percent mark for the first time since December,
sparking a record-breaking rally in low-risk German debt.	
    "Greece was the first drag, Spain is the second drag, and
the question is after they get finished with Spain, who comes
next, it might be Italy for goodness' sake," added Ketchen.