* TSX drops 0.41 pct to 11,436.92, ends week up 4.4 pct
* Gold miners slide on lower bullion price
* Big gain in Canadian jobs spurs C$ rise, rate hike talk
* Muted action ahead of holiday weekend (Adds details, comments)
By Ka Yan Ng
TORONTO, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Currency swings played a big role on Friday in knocking Toronto’s main stock index to its first lower close this week.
The Canadian dollar, pushed higher by a stronger-than-expected jobs report, created discomfort for exporters, while a surge by the U.S. dollar put resource issues under pressure.
Heavyweight miners such as Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) dropped 0.96 percent to C$41.25, while Goldcorp (G.TO) slid 0.78 percent to C$44.25 as the price of gold backed away from record highs hit earlier this week.
Potash Corp (POT.TO) led all notable decliners, shedding 3.6 percent to C$94.44, after Dahlman Rose & Co initiated coverage of the fertilizer company with a “sell” rating. It gave rival Agrium (AGU.TO) a “buy” rating, but the stock moved with most of the materials group lower, falling 2.8 percent at C$53.93. [ID:nBNG467431]
“A lot of today’s action is driven by currencies,” said Elvis Picardo, analyst and strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver. “There is increasingly speculation that we may see rate hikes sooner rather than later in Canada.”
The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 47.59 points, or 0.41 percent, at 11,436.92, ending the week up 4.4 percent.
U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said at a conference on Thursday he was thinking of an exit strategy from quantitative easing and low interest rates as the U.S. economy improves. [ID:nN08537898]
That sparked a broad rally in the U.S. dollar against major many currencies, but not against the Canadian dollar, which shot to a one-year high because of the employment report. The Canadian currency and recent data was seen testing the Bank of Canada’s resolve to hold rates unchanged through mid-2010. [ID:nN095317] [ID:nN0965028]
After four straight triple-digit gains for the TSX, the market may have been ripe for a retreat, particularly ahead of a holiday weekend in Canada.
The TSX will be closed on Monday for Thanksgiving.
(Reporting by Ka Yan Ng)