CANADA STOCKS-TSX edges higher as investors seek haven in gold

Tue Nov 22, 2011 5:00pm EST
 
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 * TSX up 10.47 pts, or 0.1 pct, at 11,795.19
 * Rising gold price lifts materials sector
 * Weak U.S. GDP data weighs on stocks
 (Adds details and analysts' comments)
 By Jon Cook
 TORONTO, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Canadian stocks edged higher on
Tuesday as gold miners gained on rising bullion prices, with
weak U.S. growth data and persistent fears about a European
slowdown spurring investors to seek less risky assets.
 Canadian stocks avoided a fourth straight day of declines
as the gold price gained more than 1 percent after hitting a
four-week low on Monday and falling nearly 5 percent over the
last two weeks. [GOL/]
 "November and December are generally positive months for
gold stocks and we are seeing that effect right now," said Sid
Mokhtari, market technician and executive director,
institutional equity research, CIBC World Markets.
 "It's a good chunk of the TSX so it does help."
 Gold's rally helped lift the heavily weighted materials
sector, home to gold mining stocks, up 1.5 percent.
 Barrick Gold ABX.TO led the gains in the sector and
broader market, climbing 2.2 percent to C$50.98.
 The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
.GSPTSE finished up 10.47 points, or 0.1 percent, at
11,795.19, after hitting a session low of 11,730.64.
 The TSX was down for much of the day, pulled lower by U.S.
gross domestic product data that showed the economy grew at a 2
percent annual rate in the last quarter, down from a previous
estimate of 2.5 percent. [ID:nCAT005556]
 Also dragging on stocks was a persistently tenuous European
debt picture, as rising bond yields for Italy, Spain, France
and Belgium added to investor concerns that the euro zone is
headed into a recession. [MKTS/GLOB]
 "The market seems to be demanding strong action out of the
European leaders," said Barry Schwartz, a portfolio manager at
Baskin Financial Services. "We thought we covered this with the
Greece debacle and here we are again and now we need the ECB
(European Central Bank) to step up and become a lender of last
resort. Does that solve the problem? I don't know."
 Half of the Toronto index's 10 main sectors were lower with
energy stocks the biggest drag, falling nearly 1 percent,
despite higher oil prices.
 Suncor Energy SU.TO led the sector's declines, dropping
1.7 percent to C$30.42.
 Schwartz said the decline was likely a case of investors
being scared by the specter of another possible financial
collapse initiated by Europe's inability to get control of its
debt woes.
 "Sure oil can be at $96 and gold can be at $1,700, but if
you believe it's going to hit the fan, it's going to go down
and go down quick," Schwartz added.
 ($1=$1.04 Canadian)
 (Additional reporting by Jennifer Kwan; Editing by Jeffrey
Hodgson)