CANADA STOCKS-Strong greenback, weak miners drag TSX down

Wed Dec 15, 2010 4:54pm EST
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* TSX closes down 0.4 percent to 13,229.07

* Golds, base metals lead index down (Updates to close, adds details, quotes)

By Claire Sibonney

TORONTO, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index closed lower on Wednesday, with weighty materials issues pressured by a drop in metal prices on the back of a stronger U.S. dollar, as euro zone debt concerns returned to the forefront.

The greenback rallied against the euro after Moody's said it may downgrade Spain's debt rating and investors awaited more news on how policymakers will resolve the region's fiscal crisis. [FRX/]

Gold miners sagged 1.8 percent as bullion retreated for the first time in three days as the U.S. dollar's rally, and tamer inflation data more than offset safe-haven buying of the precious metal. [GOL/]

Among the biggest decliners on the index were Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO: Quote), down 1.5 percent at C$52.75, and Agnico Eagle (AEM.TO: Quote), off 2.7 percent at C$80.79.

Copper prices also fell, knocking base-metal miners down 1.7 percent. Teck Resources TCKb.TO ended 2.3 percent lower at C$56.54.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 51.01 points, or 0.4 percent, to 13,229.07. Five of the index's 10 main groups were weaker, including the technology sector, down 0.7 percent.   Continued...