*TSX ends down 57.81 points at 14,029.37
*Seven of 10 sectors down, including resources, financials
*RIM U.S.-listed shares dropped 4.9 percent after-hours (Updates to close, adds details, comments)
By Claire Sibonney
TORONTO, March 24 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index closed lower on Thursday, after rallying the day before, as commodity prices showed volatility and mixed U.S. economic data failed to give a clear picture of recovery.
Gold-mining shares dropped more than 1 percent as gold prices retreated after climbing to a record high earlier in the day. Gold fell as technical selling more than offset the safe-haven appeal bullion got from jitters over the European debt crisis. [GOL/]
Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) was down 1.4 percent at C$50.32 and Goldcorp (G.TO) slid 2.4 percent to C$47.65.
The index’s energy sector fell 0.7 percent, despite U.S. crude futures ending up slightly after see-saw day of trading marked by supply worries spurred by fighting in Libya and growing unrest in the Middle East. [O/R]
Suncor Energy (SU.TO) sagged 0.8 percent to C$43.73, and Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) slumped 1.2 percent to C$47.76. [O/R]
“There are so many cross-currents, you can’t get really any real trend going or excitement going,” said Sal Masionis, stockbroker at Brant Securities. “It’s very choppy and people are very nervous.”
Masionis added that the likelihood of a spring federal election in Canada was throwing more uncertainty into the mix.
Canada’s minority Conservative government looks set to fall on Friday on opposition charges it is incompetent and tainted by sleaze, setting the scene for an immediate election campaign. [ID:nN23287439]
In the United States, new orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods unexpectedly fell in February, while a drop in new claims for jobless benefits signaled a sustained strengthening of the labor market. [ID:nN24115372]
“Durable goods were a little bit lower than expected so that did weigh in,” said Francis Campeau, broker at MF Global Canada in Montreal. “There’s still some uncertainty out there on the full impact of Japanese manufacturing slowing down, we’re starting to see some disruption in Canadian and U.S. manufacturing.”
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended down 57.81 points, or 0.41 percent, at 14,029.37. Seven of its 10 sectors were weaker, including economically sensitive financials, off 0.4 percent.
Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) was down 0.7 percent at C$59.63, and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) fell 1.4 percent to C$83.40.
Campeau said that the index’s climb back above its 50-day moving average around 13,800 this week was a bullish sign and will serve as healthy near-term support.
A Reuters poll of fund managers and strategists released on Thursday showed they expect the TSX index to post a high single-digit gain for 2011 due to a strong domestic economy that will be underpinned by continuing recovery in the United States. [ID:nN22164709]
Research In Motion RIM.TO RIMM.O jumped 2.6 percent to C$62.49 ahead of its quarterly earnings that came out after the market close.
But its U.S.-listed shares dropped 4.9 percent in after-hours trade immediately following the release of the results as the market considered its outlook weak. [ID:nN24175647]
Sprott Inc (SII.TO) ended up 2.5 percent to C$9.51 after the fund manager’s quarterly profit rose eight-fold, helped by the launch of new funds and its exposure to gold and silver. [ID:nL3E7EO1F3]
Bombardier Inc (BBDb.TO) rallied almost 2 percent to C$6.53 after the world’s third-largest commercial aircraft-maker signed an agreement to work on commercial planes with the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Ltd. [ID:nL3E7EO1II]
($1=$0.98 Canadian) (Reporting by Claire Sibonney; editing by Peter Galloway)