UPDATE 5-Toronto stocks end win streak amid economic woes

Tue Apr 8, 2008 5:16pm EDT
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By Leah Schnurr

TORONTO, April 8 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index snapped its six-day winning streak and closed slightly lower on Tuesday, hurt by softer commodities and recurrent worries over the impact of the U.S. economic slowdown.

Shares of gold producers lost 1.7 percent as the price of bullion was stung by profit-taking. Barrick Gold (ABX.TO: Quote) was among the day's biggest weighted decliners, giving up C$1.09, or 2.4 percent, to C$43.60, while Goldcorp was down 92 Canadian cents, or 2.3 percent, at C$40.03.

Shares of other resource companies offset some of the losses, including Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (POT.TO: Quote), which was up C$2.62, or 1.5 percent, at C$178.27, and Fording Canadian Coal Trust FDG_u.TO, which rose C$4.37, or 7.1 percent, to C$65.63. The materials sector as a whole edged down 0.2 percent.

Analysts said market sentiment was shaken by a report from the International Monetary Fund that forecast writedown losses related to the credit crisis could reach $945 billion. As well, the U.S. earnings season got off to a weak start with a disappointing quarterly profit from Alcoa (AA.N: Quote) on Monday.

Gavin Graham, chief investment officer at Guardian Group of Funds, said that along with soft oil and gold prices, which are major drivers for the resource-heavy TSX, the "reminder that things are not great in the States" helped pull the Toronto index down.

"I think you got a bunch of really lousy first-quarter results out of the States, starting with Alcoa, so it's difficult to get too enthused when it's very obvious exactly how bad things are south of border," Graham said.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 17.48 points, or 0.13 percent, at 13,727.53 with seven of its 10 main sectors lower and one flat.   Continued...