CANADA STOCKS-TSX ends flat as gold weighs, eye on EU summit

Tue Jun 26, 2012 4:55pm EDT
 
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* TSX up 4.03 points, or 0.04 percent, at 11,334.42
    * Fertilizer producers among top gainers
    * Gold miners hurt by easing in bullion price

    By Allison Martell
    TORONTO, June 26 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
closed nearly flat on Tuesday, as losses in gold stocks were
offset by gains in financial issues and fertilizer producers,
with investors focused on a European Union summit on Thursday
and Friday.
    Spain's short-term borrowing costs nearly tripled and the
euro fell as investors feared leaders would make little
meaningful progress at the summit on the region's debt crisis.
  
    "The market is very thin. Everyone's waiting for the
summit," said Irwin Michael, portfolio manager at ABC Funds.
"There's no great impetus to do very much."
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 closed up 4.03 points, or 0.04 percent, at 11,334.42. 
    John Kinsey, portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities Ltd,
said many investors were on the sidelines ahead of the summit,
but he did not see major progress coming out of the meeting.
    "They have a track record of just talking and talking, and
nothing really concrete comes forward, so I don't know why this
would be anything different," he said, adding volume was light
as investors waited for the summit's outcome.
    Gold retreated in quiet trade, hurt by fears of deflation
amid disappointing U.S. consumer confidence data and worries
about the escalating euro zone debt crisis. 
    "There is not a lot of impetus to buy (gold) here," said
Michael. "People are looking for inflation, and we're not seeing
a lot of inflation at this point."
    
    GRAIN RALLY BOOSTS POTASH
    The heavyweight materials group, which includes gold miners,
fell 1 percent. Barrick Gold fell 4 percent to C$37.83,
and Goldcorp Inc was 1.9 percent lower at C$38.44. The
stocks were the two biggest weights on the index.
    Financial shares edged 0.4 percent higher after falling on
Monday. 
    Losses in gold were also offset by fertilizer producers.
Potash Corp rose 3.1 percent to C$43.56, and Agrium Inc
 was 1.9 percent higher at C$89.56 as the price of corn
jumped.
    Corn rose by the daily maximum 40 cents on Monday as an
unexpectedly hot, dry spell this week damaged crops that are
already in their worst condition in 24 years. 
    Shares of the fertilizer makers typically track the price of
fertilizer-intensive corn closely as higher grain prices are
likely to spur farmers to increase their use of crop nutrients.
    Centerra Gold saw its stock jump 11.8 percent to
C$10.05, partially recovering from last week's sharp drop over
uncertainty about the future of its flagship Kumtor mine in
Kyrgyzstan. 
    Oil and gas company Nexen Inc said it has taken
less time than expected to start producing at a section in its
Long Lake project in Alberta. Its stock closed up 4.1 percent at
C$16.40. 
    Outside the main index, coal miner SouthGobi Resources Ltd
 said uncertainty over its licenses in Mongolia is
making it difficult to estimate sales volumes and pricing for
the year. Its shares dropped more than 25 percent to C$4.00.