CANADA STOCKS-Caution pulls TSX back from recent gains

Wed Feb 2, 2011 5:24pm EST
 
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   * TSX ends down 0.24 percent at 13,680.29
 * Suncor flat after quarterly profit triples
 * Gold miners are main drag
 (Adds details, quote)
 By Leah Schnurr
 OTTAWA, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index closed
lower on Wednesday, ending a three-day winning streak, as
investors saw little reason to push the market higher and
sought the safety of the sidelines as tensions heightened in
Egypt.
 Analysts said the market was due for consolidation a day
after the S&P/TSX composite had its highest close since August
2008.
 "We saw the risk trade come rolling in yesterday. Those
risk-on, risk-off plays tend to be very volatile, so today
investors are taking a slightly more cautious tone," said   
Elvis Picardo, an analyst and strategist at Global Securities
in Vancouver.
 In Egypt, supporters of President Hosni Mubarak assaulted
demonstrators in Cairo after the army told the protesters to go
home. Equities have seen pressure from worries the protests
could spread to other Middle East countries, though Canadian
energy stocks often benefit from higher oil prices. For
details, see [ID:nLDE71100I]
 Canada's biggest energy company, Suncor SU.TO, ended flat
after climbing more than 3 percent early in the day, after it
said its quarterly profit almost tripled, helped by increased
production in the Alberta oil sands. The stock closed unchanged
at C$41.61. [ID:nN01139180]
 "We've yet to see Canadian companies begin reporting in a
big way and I think that might be the next catalyst to move
markets one way or the other," Picardo said.
 The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
.GSPTSE closed down 32.33 points, or 0.24 percent, at
13,680.29. Of its 10 main groups, only the tech sector ended
up.
 Shares of gold miners were among the biggest losers as gold
prices fell following encouraging U.S. economic data. The TSX's
materials group, home to gold miners, was down 0.3 percent.
Barrick Gold ABX.TO shed 1.9 percent to C$46.94, while
Goldcorp G.TO fell 1.2 percent to C$40.32.
 Bob Gorman, chief portfolio strategist at TD Waterhouse in
Toronto, said that after last year's strong run in the metals
and mining sectors, investors were starting to look elsewhere
for better opportunities .
 "At this point I do think you've got a number of managers
looking at sectors that it is fair to say represent better
value by most metrics," said Gorman.
 On the upside, First Quantum Minerals FM.TO rose 1.2
percent to C$123.71 after it said it plans to raise annual
output at Zambia's largest copper mine to 400,000 tonnes a year
by 2015 from 250,000 tonnes. [ID:nLDE7110QM]
 Bombardier BBDb.TO added 1.2 percent to C$5.98 after UBS
raised its price target to C$7 from C$6.50. [RCH/CA]
 ($1=$0.99 Canadian)
 (Reporting by Leah Schnurr)