CANADA STOCKS-TSX drops as gold miners continue their fall

Mon Apr 1, 2013 11:33am EDT
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* TSX down 34.39 points, or 0.27 percent, at 12,715.51
    * Gold miners, railways weigh heavily
    * Heavyweight bank, energy shares make modest gains

    By Alastair Sharp
    TORONTO, April 1 (Reuters) - The main Canadian stock index
dropped on Monday as gold mining stocks again weighed heavily
and as railway stocks fell after U.S. data showed slowing
manufacturing activity.
    The resources-rich index has fared poorly in recent weeks in
comparison with record highs hit on markets south of the border 
as investors have shied away from some energy plays and have
retreated drastically from gold miners.
    "The bottom line is cyclicals are hated across the globe and
we've got our fair share of them," said Barry Schwartz, a
portfolio manager at Baskin Financial Services. "I don't know
when that's going to turn around, but it's not looking good."
    Industrial stocks also weighed on Monday, with Canada's two
main railways leading the index's fall. Canadian National
Railway Co dropped 1 percent to C$101.13, and Canadian
Pacific Railway Ltd was down 1.7 percent at C$130.33.
    The pair pulled back after data showed the pace of expansion
in the U.S. manufacturing sector slowed unexpectedly last month,
according to the Institute for Supply Management
    Both have moved sharply higher in the past year as investors
view them as likely beneficiaries as oil producers struggle to
move their product to market via pipelines.
    "They've surprised everybody, caught everybody off guard
over the past year or so with the price explosion. I think a lot
of that is hype and pomp," Schwartz said.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 was down 34.39 points, or 0.27 percent, at 12,715.51 a
little over an hour into the session.
    Goldcorp Inc lost 0.5 percent to C$34.02 and Barrick
Gold Corp, the world's largest gold miner, fell 0.7
percent to C$29.64. Barrick has lost about 28 percent of its
value since September last year.
    Shares of China Gold International Resources Corp Ltd
 dropped almost 13 percent to C$3.35 after a landslide
at an exploration area near the gold miner's Jiamia mine in
Tibet trapped 83 people.  
    Gold miners, have fallen almost 16 percent so far this year,
while the index's broader materials sector is down almost 11
percent in the same period. 
    The price of bullion slipped 4 percent in the first quarter
as the euro stayed weak against the greenback and stock markets
    In a research note on Monday, Bank of America Merrill Lynch 
warned that year-over-year declines in gold, silver and copper
prices during the first quarter, combined with relentless cost
pressures, are likely to result in lower quarterly earnings from
precious metal miners.
    The brokerage firm said this expectation may put pressure on
the share prices of precious metal miners ahead of first-quarter
earnings reports that are set to begin later this month. 
    Modest gains in heavyweight energy and banking stocks helped
lessen the Toronto index's pain.
    Pipeline builder TransCanada Corp rose 0.9 percent
to C$48.95 and oil sands player Suncor Energy Inc gained
0.6 percent to C$30.62. Toronto-Dominion Bank gained 0.3
percent to C$84.04 and Royal Bank of Canada added 0.1
percent to C$61.27.