* TSX falls but records 6.9 percent gain for April
* Commodity stocks drop, gold miners main drag
* Chrysler bankruptcy filing weighs on sentiment (Adds details)
By Ka Yan Ng
TORONTO, April 30 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index fell nearly 1 percent on Thursday, tumbling from its highest level in more than five months as commodity shares turned lower and Chrysler’s bankruptcy filing weighed on the market’s mood.
The mining-heavy materials group was a key drag, down 2.13 percent, with gold miners leading the way lower after gold prices failed to hold above $900 an ounce, tempting investors to take profits. [ID:nLU31497]
Four gold companies were among the top 10 declining issues, led by Goldcorp (G.TO), which fell 4.1 percent to C$32.62. Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) shed 3.1 percent to C$34.55, while Kinross Gold (K.TO) and Agnico-Eagle (AEM.TO) were also lower.
The price of oil, a key Canadian export, see-sawed through the day. It edged higher late in the session but this failed to carry over to the index’s oil and gas sector, which fell 1.6 percent. Oil company EnCana ECA.TO fell 1.44 percent to C$54.69.
Sentiment was damaged by the bankruptcy filing of automaker Chrysler, which rattled U.S. equities and influenced direction in Canada as well. [ID:nLU940906]
“We are more commodity-dependent and so that is one effect, but I believe the market is taking a bit of a breather just given the news of the day,” said Paul Taylor, chief investment officer at BMO Harris Investment Management Inc.
“The U.S. market turned lower as well and it’s got to be in some reaction to Chrysler and the issues there, so I think both markets are reacting to the information flow.”
The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE fell 91.48 points, or 0.97 percent, to 9,324.83. Seven of its 10 sectors were down.
Month-end rebalancing also contributed to the decline. The index rose 6.9 percent this month, adding to its 7.4 percent rise in March.
The blue-chip S&P/TSX 60 index fell 0.91 percent to 565.38, finishing the month 7 percent higher from March.
“April’s been a very strong month in all equity markets, whether in Canada or anywhere else in the world,” said Francis Campeau, broker at MF Global Canada in Montreal.
He said the day’s economic numbers did not support the reversal in equity markets. Manufacturing output in Canada rose in February for the first time since July, boosted by a recovery in autos, and that limited the fall month-on-month fall in gross domestic product to 0.1 percent, Statistics Canada said.
The February drop was the seventh straight monthly fall in gross domestic product and left GDP 2.3 percent lower compared with a year earlier. [ID:nN29434455]
Earlier in the day the TSX index rallied as high as 152.01 points, or 1.6 percent, to 9,568.32, which was its highest level since Nov. 1.
$1=$1.19 Canadian Additional reporting by Frank Pingue; editing by Peter Galloway