CANADA STOCKS-TSX ends lower for 3rd day as materials fall

Fri Jan 21, 2011 5:15pm EST
 
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   *TSX down 0.55 percent at 13,258.57, down 1.5 pct on week
 *Late-day drop in materials more than offsets energy rally
 *Health-care group jumps more than 1 pct on Nordion gains
 *Canada's earnings season starts in earnest next week
 (Updates to close)
 By Ka Yan Ng
 TORONTO, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
finished lower for a third straight day on Friday, accelerating
its decline toward the close due to a late-day selloff in the
materials group.
 The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
.GSPTSE, which was largely flat for much of the afternoon,
finished down 72.75 points, or 0.55 percent, at 13,258.57.
 Seven of the index's 10 main groups ended lower, pressured
by a sharp 1.7 percent drop in materials, a lot of the fall
taking place in the final minutes of the session.
 "(It was) a tug-of-war between energy stocks and material
stocks today," said Kate Warne, Canadian market strategist at
Edward Jones in St. Louis, Missouri.
 The weakness in materials was broad with both base- and
precious-metals miners falling. The price of bullion notched
its third week of losses, while copper stabilized after falling
to a one-month low.
 Diversified miner Teck Resources TCKb.TO shed 2.67
percent to C$58.66, while Barrick Gold ABX.TO lost 1.03
percent to C$46.33.
 The overall decline was cushioned by a rally in the oil and
gas sector, which rose 1.08 percent.
 Strength in the price of natural gas drove energy issues
higher, rather than U.S. crude oil, which was softer on rising
supply. Warne noted that cold weather and higher heating demand
were helping to push up gas prices.
 Advancers included Suncor Energy SU.TO, up 1.04 percent
at C$38.06, and Talisman Energy TLM.TO, up 2.24 percent at
C$22.34.
 The index advanced at the beginning of the session, spurred
by rising U.S. stock markets and a higher than expected profit
from General Electric GE.N and higher net revenues from
Google Inc. GOOG.O [.N]
 More U.S. earnings reports next week will likely be one of
the main cues for the TSX, which finished this week down 1.5
percent. Canada's fourth-quarter earnings season also begins,
with resource sector profits the main focus.
 Youssef Zohny, associate portfolio manager at Van Arbor
Asset Management in Vancouver, said attention next week will
also shift towards a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting and U.S.
President Barack Obama's State of the Union address.
 Solid retail sales figures for November in Canada added to
the positive sentiment early on Friday. Canadian retail sales
showed surprising resilience in the month and posted their
biggest gain in eight months, beating analysts' expectations.
[ID:nN21236351]
 The index's health-care sector was notably firmer on
Friday, one of two sectors that registered gains greater than 1
percent.
 The rise was largely fueled by a jump in shares of Nordion
Inc NDN.TO NDZ.N, which reported stronger than expected
results. Nordion advanced as much as 14 percent during the day,
but pared the gain to 9.4 percent at C$11.06 at the close.
[ID:nN21256837]
 ($1=$0.99 Canadian)
 (Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Peter Galloway)