UPDATE 1-Toronto stocks slide as banks, gold miners weaken

Fri Mar 28, 2008 11:04am EDT
 
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TORONTO, March 28 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index was lower on Friday morning, undercut by BCE Inc (BCE.TO: Quote), banks, and gold-mining stocks, which fell with bullion prices.

The decline would have been worse if not for a jump in the utilities sector and in the shares of Research In Motion RIM.TO, the BlackBerry maker, which were up 2.1 percent ahead of the realease of the company's fourth-quarter results next week.

BCE, Canada's No. 1 telecom firm, is set to be taken over by an investors group in a C$34.8 billion deal. But worries that funding for the buyout has dried up amid the global credit crunch have hampered the company's stock, which fell 4.7 percent on Friday.

Overall, the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 15.79 points, or 0.1 percent, at 13,389.99 with half of its sectors in the red. Financials were off 0.5 percent and materials fell 0.4 percent.

Bruce Latimer, trader at Dundee Securities, said he expects the market to drift sideways "with some positive spin" to close out the week.

"The volatility that we have seen recently has come out of the market now," he said.

Barrick Gold (ABX.TO: Quote) was down C$1.09 at C$45.06 and Goldcorp (G.TO: Quote) was down C$1.03 at C$40.04 as the price of spot gold tumbled more than $10 an ounce. Base metal prices also fell.

Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote), the country's biggest bank and the heaviest weighting on the TSX, was down 49 Canadian cents to C$47.27.

On the upside, the utilities group added 0.8 percent with TransCanada Corp (TRP.TO: Quote) up 58 Canadian cents at C$39.88.

($1=$1.02 Canadian) (Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Peter Galloway)