*TSX falls 75.49 points, or 0.5 pct, to 13,896.53
*Barrick to buy Equinox for more than C$7 billion
*Six of index’s 10 sectors weaker (Updates with details, comments)
By Claire Sibonney
TORONTO, April 25 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index was lower on Monday morning as Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) dropped sharply, pulling down other gold miners with it, after it struck an all-cash deal to buy Australian copper miner Equinox Minerals EQN.TO.
Barrick, the world’s largest gold miner, plunged almost 6 percent to C$49.99 after it announced the Equinox takeover for more than C$7 billion, topping a takeover offer from China’s Minmetals Resources 1208.HK by 16 percent. [ID:nN25193391] Barrick was the index’s top decliner.
Equinox surged 12 percent to C$8.38 in early trade.
“Barrick is off because it’s taking up a lot of its cash,” said Gavin Graham, president of Graham Investment Strategy.
“It’s obviously good news longer term for the Canadian market but short term the sell-off in Barrick is dragging things down.”
Base-metal miners rallied 1.7 percent, while gold miners were broadly weaker, down 2.1 percent, despite spot gold hitting a record high above $1,518 an ounce and silver moving closer to its 1980 record peak. [GOL/]
“When Barrick says ‘yes, we think Equinox is worth ‘x’, that certainly gives a big boost to the valuations that have been based on copper miners, base metal miners,” Graham said.
He said that rising energy costs were also weighing on the shares of precious metal miners despite record high gold prices.
Goldcorp Inc (G.TO) was down 1.6 percent at C$52.24, while base metals producer First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) shot up 3.4 percent to C$134.40.
At 10:25 a.m. (1425 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 75.49 points, or 0.54 percent, at 13,896.53. Six of the index’s 10 main groups were weaker, including energy shares, which slipped 0.8 percent as U.S. crude prices reversed earlier gains. [O/R]
Suncor Energy (SU.TO) was off 0.3 percent at C$43.06, while Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) retreated 1.1 percent to C$43.96.
($1=$0.95 Canadian) (Reporting by Claire Sibonney; editing by Peter Galloway )