CANADA STOCKS-Gold miners lead TSX lower as Syria fears flare

Wed Sep 4, 2013 11:22am EDT
 
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* TSX falls 23.01 points, or 0.18 percent, to 12,717.49
    * Six of the 10 main index sectors advance
    * Gold miners shed nearly 2 percent as bullion weakens

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index fell
on Wednesday as a weaker bullion price weighed on gold-mining
shares and worries about possible military action in Syria hit
sentiment, overshadowing bullish economic data from Europe and
China.
    The Toronto stock market's benchmark index touched a
three-month high the previous session.
    Surveys released on Wednesday showed Chinese service-sector
growth reached a five-month high in August and euro zone
businesses recorded their best month in August in more than two
years. Those figures followed strong U.S. manufacturing data on
Tuesday.  
    With economic data looking stronger, investors were bracing
for the U.S. Federal Reserve to dial back its monetary stimulus
program.
    The market was also preparing itself for an increase in
tension in the Middle East after President Vladimir Putin
indicated that Russia does not rule out support for using force
against Syria. 
    "The biggest issue for investors is the uncertainty, and
markets hate uncertainty," said Rick Hutcheon, president and
chief operating officer at RKH Investments. "We don't know if
the Americans are going to attack, we don't know if anyone is
going to do anything."
    "All this is doing is providing an overlay of uncertainty in
a market that is trying to come to terms with the economic
realities of the U.S. and European economic recoveries."
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 was down 23.01 points, or 0.18 percent, at 12,717.49. 
    Six of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.
    The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, gave
back 1.3 percent. The price of bullion dropped 1 percent,
dragging producers of the commodity down 2 percent. 
    Goldcorp Inc dropped 1.2 percent to C$31.04, and
Barrick Gold Corp declined 1.4 percent to C$20.23. 
    Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, were
little changed, with a 0.3 percent gain in Toronto-Dominion Bank
 offset by a 0.4 percent decline in Royal Bank of Canada
.