CANADA STOCKS-TSX slips as materials take beating on earnings
* TSX down 6.87 points, or 0.06 percent, at 12,104.19 * Weak earnings from Goldcorp, Potash weigh By Claire Sibonney TORONTO, April 26 (Reuters) - Toronto's resource-driven stock index drifted lower o n T hursday as materials shares took a beating from disappointing earnings in the sector, though strong energy shares helped stem the losses. Goldcorp, which reported late on Wednesday, plunged nearly 6 percent to C$38.23. Canada's No.2 gold miner announced a slim increase in operating profit as its most prolific mine was hit by operational problems that reduced output and offset most of the gains from a surge in bullion prices. Potash Corp of Saskatchewan, the world's largest fertilizer maker, dropped 3 percent to C$42.36 after reporting a 33 percent profit drop due to lower sales and production, which in turn led to higher costs. "The U.S. yesterday had very good earnings news and that sure helped their market, but today we have bad earnings news on two of our more prominent stocks," said John Kinsey, portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities. "That's what's hurt us." Economically sensitive financial shares were down 0.5 percent, succumbing to soft U.S. data, after a trend reading on new claims for unemployment benefits rose to its highest since January, the latest sign of a weaker pace of recovery in the struggling labor market. Also weighing on broader market confidence, euro zone economic sentiment fell more than expected in April, driven by more pessimistic industry and services sectors as the region's economy sinks into recession. The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was down 6.87 points, or 0.06 percent, at 12,104.19. On the upside, energy shares climbed 0.6 percent, helped by a rise in oil and natural gas prices, though the first stream of earnings in the sector mostly missed expectations. Encana Corp surged 6 percent to C$19.41 a day after reporting a rise in first-quarter profits. It benefited from its hedging program as gas prices slumped to 10-year lows, while its price target was upgraded on Thursday. MEG Energy, a Canadian oil sands developer, advanced nearly 5 percent to C$40.49 after reporting an 18 percent rise in first-quarter profits on lower costs and higher price realizations.
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