CANADA STOCKS-Small drop as golds aid big comeback

Fri Oct 24, 2008 6:05pm EDT
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* Main index ends slightly lower after big early drop

* TSX down 2.8 percent for the week

* Financial sector leads Friday's fall, down 2.5 percent

* Materials group up 4.9 percent on rising gold price (Adds quote, details)

By Jennifer Kwan

TORONTO, Oct 24 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index closed only slightly lower on Friday, erasing most of the 7.5 percent loss it started the day with, rattled by the recession fears that sparked big selloffs on Asian and European markets and on Wall Street.

The key S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 37.26 points, or 0.4 percent, at 9,294.09. Just after the open it plunged more than 700 points to touch its lowest level in four years.

Gold mining shares aided the comeback, with bullion prices rising as safe-haven buying emerged on fears that global stock markets were heading into freefall. The gold-mining subindex was up 7.9 percent. [ID:nL1449620]

Barrick Gold ABX.TO rose 8.9 percent to C$25.75, and Agnico-Eagle AEM.TO was up 12.8 percent at C$33.86.   Continued...