CANADA STOCKS-TSX lower as commodity prices fall
*TSX down 59.49 points, or 0.45 percent, at 13,169.58
*Six of 10 key groups lower, materials fall hardest
*Spot gold price drops below $1,370 an ounce (Adds details, quote)
By Jennifer Kwan
TORONTO, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index was dragged lower by weaker commodity prices on Thursday, with gold falling through a key technical level, as mixed U.S. data kept investors cautious about economic recovery.
Key movers on the downside included Barrick Gold (ABX.TO: Quote), down 1.6 percent at C$51.89, and Teck Resources (TCKb.TO: Quote), which fell 1.5 percent to C$55.72. [GOL/] [MET/L]
Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote) dropped 0.5 percent to C$42.30 as oil fell toward $88 a barrel, pressured by the U.S. economic data and lingering concerns about the debt crisis in the eurozone. [O/R]
Francis Campeau, broker at MF Global Canada, in Montreal, pinned some of the market drop on spot gold prices, which fell through the 50-day moving average, a key technical level of around $1,370.
"The 50-day moving day average has been providing good support over the last six months. A movement below that line might trigger some technical funds to reduce positions," he said.
Gold retreated after data that showed U.S. jobless claims fell for a second week took the wind out of the metal's safe-haven sails, but concern over euro zone debt levels limited losses. [GOL/]
But while the jobless data suggested growth in the U.S. labor market, data on home construction showed the sector remained distressed. [ID: nN16191367]
Campeau said the mixed data was keeping investors cautious.
At 10:02 a.m. (1502 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 59.49 points, or 0.45 percent, at 13,169.58. Six of the index's 10 main groups were lower.
George Weston Ltd (WN.TO: Quote), the top net gainer, rose 4.8 percent to C$83.17. The food processor and distributor said on Wednesday it will pay a special one-time dividend of C$1 billion. [ID:nSGE6BE0CU]
Baffinland Iron Mines BIM.TO was the most heavily traded stock on the market, rising 0.8 percent to C$1.25. Nunavut Iron, backed by private equity, raised its hostile takeover bid for Baffinland by 69 percent, topping an offer from the world's No. 1 steelmaker, ArcelorMittal, as the two companies compete for an iron ore deposit that is said to be big enough to supply all of Europe. [ID:nN16206372]
($1=$1.01 Canadian) (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Peter Galloway)
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