CANADA STOCKS-TSX in 5-day losing streak on lackluster jobs data

Fri Apr 5, 2013 5:03pm EDT
 
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* TSX off 31.20 points, or 0.25 percent, at 12,331.85
    * Seven of 10 main sectors decline
    * Index posts biggest weekly decline in 10 months
    * Pension officials back Agrium board nominees, stock slips

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, April 5 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
capped a five-day losing streak by slumping to its lowest in
more than 3-1/2 months on Friday, led by declines in the
financial sector, as gloomy Canadian and U.S. jobs data
suggested the North American economy could be losing steam.
    The economic uncertainty weighed on oil prices, which fell
to a five-month low, but a rising bullion price took gold shares
higher.
    The benchmark Canadian index slipped 3.3 percent on the
week, recording its biggest weekly fall in about 10 months. The
week's losses have erased all the gains the index made in 2013.
    March data showed that American employers hired at the
slowest pace in nine months and Canada posted the worst monthly
jobs loss in more than four years. 
 
    "The market was somewhat ahead of itself on expectations it
was going to be full steam ahead," said Gavin Graham, president
at Graham Investment Strategy. "We've been reminded that there
will be some bumps in the road."
    "You're going to get months when job gains are not as high
as expected or even have a reversal," he added.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 closed down 31.20 points, or 0.25 percent, at
12,331.85, after reaching 12,244.23, its lowest point since Dec.
17, 2012. On Wednesday, the index had its biggest one-day
percentage decline in more than nine months.
    The latest numbers followed weak economic data throughout
the week, unnerving investors and casting doubts about a smooth
recovery.
    "It's a very reluctant, obstinate and grinding recovery. But
it's a recovery," said Stephen Wood, chief market strategist,
North America, at Russell Investments in New York. 
    "We've been anticipating that it would not be a smooth,
uninterrupted ride up," he added. "There will be a volatile path
to positive returns for 2013."
    The TSX has had an uneven rally since November. The market
climbed almost 10 percent from a low in November to a peak on
March 12, before easing. 
    Some analysts said the market prices have gotten further
than fundamentals.
    Seven of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the red.
    Financials, the index's weightiest sector, were the biggest
negative influence, giving back 1 percent. Royal Bank of Canada
 dropped 1.3 percent to C$59.62.    
    But the materials sector, which includes mining stocks, rose
and helped stem the losses. 
    The price of gold received a boost because the bad economic
news created interest in safe-haven assets. Goldcorp Inc 
gained 1.2 percent to C$32.33. 
    Energy shares also made gains, with Encana Corp up
3.1 percent to C$19.11.
    In company news, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board,
one of the world's largest pension funds, said it has voted to
support Agrium Inc's board nominees ahead of a
shareholder meeting next week. Agrium shares were down 0.3
percent.