CANADA STOCKS-Small drop as golds aid big comeback

Fri Oct 24, 2008 5:15pm EDT
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*Key index ends just slightly lower after big early drop

*Index 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 official closing numbers, quote, details)

TORONTO, Oct 24 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index closed only slightly lower on Friday after 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.

Gold mining shares aided Toronto's comeback as bullion prices rose as safe-haven buying emerged on fears that global stock markets were heading into freefall. The gold-mining subindex was up 8.1 percent. [ID:nL1449620]

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

"There always is a disconnect between commodity prices and the underlying companies and maybe today (the market) felt the disconnect between gold and the gold companies was far enough that there's an opportunity there," said Brian Pow, vice president, research and equity analyst at Acumen Capital Partners, in Calgary, Alberta.   Continued...