CANADA STOCKS-Miners slide but TSX ekes out a tiny gain

Tue Apr 26, 2011 5:10pm EDT
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 * TSX composite ends up 1.78 points at 13,909.10
 * Barrick biggest drag for second straight session
 * Silver drops 5 pct, gold slides again
 (Adds details)
 By Ka Yan Ng
 TORONTO, April 26 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
finished almost unchanged on Tuesday as a drop in gold and
silver prices hit shares of precious metal miners, offsetting
the boost that a raft of strong U.S. earnings gave to
 Silver tumbled 5 percent after hitting a 31-year high in
the previous session, while gold slid for a second straight day
as investors sold it because of uncertainty about the direction
of monetary policy in the United States as a two-day U.S.
Federal Reserve policy meeting got under way. [GOL/]
 The index's materials group, home to gold miners, fell 1.25
percent, weighing heavily on overall market performance.
 "There's not too much weakness in most of the other sectors
but the disproportionate weakness on the day in the materials
group is capping the upside," said Elvis Picardo, analyst and
strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.
 The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
.GSPTSE finished 1.78 points higher at 13,909.10. Seven of
its sectors were higher.
 Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO: Quote) was the biggest drag of any
stock on the index for a second straight session, falling 3.5
percent to C$47.75. Goldcorp (G.TO: Quote) fell 1.22 percent to
C$51.90, while Silver Wheaton SLW.TO slid 4.8 percent to
 As well as the falling gold price, a major factor in
Barrick's decline was market dissatisfaction with its C$7.3
billion all-cash takeover bid for copper producer Equinox
Minerals EQN.TO on Monday. On Tuesday, China's Minmetals
Resources (1208.HK: Quote), which had also bid for Equinox, backed
away. [ID:nL3E7FQ05D]
 Barrick's offer values Equinox at 14 times its 2010
earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization.
Barrick's surprise move to buy a copper miner has unnerved some
of its investors and puts the world's largest gold miner at
risk of a downward reassessment in its value. [ID:nN2626230]
 "The company clearly has a strategy that they want to
execute and could benefit long-term investors, but I think
short-term investors are not happy with Barrick branching away
from gold," said Youssef Zohny, portfolio manager at Van Arbor
Asset Management in Vancouver.
 A flood of positive corporate results on Tuesday, including
Ford and UPS, added to optimism about the economic growth
outlook in the United States. Analysts said results will likely
be the short-term driver in equity markets.
 Canadian corporate results have started trickling in. After
the market close on Tuesday, a pair of blue-chip Canadian
companies reported better-than-expected results and built on
momentum seen south of the border.
 Canadian National Railway (CNR.TO: Quote), which finished up 1.2
percent at C$71, reported a 31 percent rise in quarterly profit
on the back of an improving North American economy and a
well-executed winter operating plan. It also raised its
full-year financial forecast. [ID:nN26287831]
 Rogers Communications (RCIb.TO: Quote), Canada's largest wireless
company, reported a 6.5 percent jump in profit, helped by
growth in its lucrative postpaid wireless business. Rogers
closed 1.14 percent higher at C$34.74. [ID:nN25226138]
 ($1=$0.95 Canadian)
 (Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Peter Galloway)