CANADA STOCKS-TSX drifts lower on soft commodities, banks
* TSX down 22.91 points at 13,441.15
* Eight of 10 main sectors weaker (Updates with details, commentary)
By Claire Sibonney
TORONTO, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index was little changed on Monday morning as losses from softer resource and financial issues were held in check by firmer gold miners and technology stocks.
The materials sector was down 0.1 percent as metal prices stabilized but were still constrained by a stronger U.S. dollar. [MET/L]
Teck Resources TCKb.TO slid 0.6 percent to C$61.84 and First Quantum Minerals FM.TO dropped 1.4 percent to C$118.60.
Fertilizer makers were also down, with Potash Corp (POT.TO: Quote) off 0.3 percent to C$170.10.
"This is a non-event day. Tomorrow's focus will be on the (U.S.) earnings front," said Francis Campeau, a broker at MF Global Canada in Montreal, citing flat commodity prices and European indexes, with U.S. markets closed for the Martin Luther King holiday.
"Expect tiny volumes within a tiny range today ... there is not any momentum."
Financials were 0.3 percent weaker, as Toronto-Dominion Bank TD.TO fell 0.4 percent to C$75.87, but Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO was up 0.1 percent to C$53.94.
Campeau noted that investors were assessing news that Ottawa will tighten mortgage rules and reduce support for lines of credit secured by homes in a bid to prevent the housing market from overheating and rein in rising household debt levels. [ID:nN17274705]
"So far, I don't see any reaction ... it could impact financials, but it's not clear which way. On one hand, they might issue a bit less mortgages, on the other hand their current mortgages might be a bit more stable."
At 10:14 a.m. (1514 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 22.91 points, or 0.17 percent, at 13,441.15. Eight of the 10 main groups were lower, including energy shares, down 0.1 percent, as oil prices declined. [O/R]
The gold-mining subsector however gained 0.1 percent, with Barrick Gold Corp 0.7 percent stronger at C$46.90.
Technology stocks were 0.2 percent better, led by Research In Motion RIM.TO, which advanced 0.7 percent to C$64.65, extending last week's gains.
In individual company news, Baffinland Iron Mines BIM.TO sank almost 2 percent to C$1.52 after advising its shareholders to accept the joint C$590 million bid from ArcelorMittal (ISPA.AS: Quote) and Nunavut Iron. [ID:nN17276746]
Ivanhoe Energy IE.TO surged 4.5 percent to C$3.27 after the heavy oil producer said it discovered natural gas at a third well at its Zitong exploration block in China's Sichuan province. [ID:nSGE70G08T] (Reporting by Claire Sibonney; editing by Rob Wilson)
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