CANADA STOCKS-TSX slips as gold miners weigh

Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:10am EST
 
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* TSX down 10.71 points, or 0.08 pct, at 13,577.27
    * Gold miners weigh, bullion heads for historically bad year

    By Alastair Sharp
    TORONTO, Dec 30 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
slipped marginally in light trade on Monday, with gold-mining
shares weighing heavily as bullion headed for its biggest annual
loss in 32 years.
    Some heavyweight banks also slipped, but the losses were
offset by moderate gains among energy companies. While trading
activity was muted, optimism showed in expectations for improved
economic growth in 2014.
    "I think it will be quiet through to the new year," said
John Kinsey, a portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities.
    "On balance, we believe 2014 is going to be a better year
than 2013," he said. "That's based on some of the economic
numbers...the U.S. reduced their taper, they seem to think their
economy is going to find some traction."
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 is on track for a roughly 9 percent gain for the year,
a sharp underperformance compared to the broad S&P 500 
index's 30 percent gain to all-time highs.
    The annual gain for the S&P 500 and other U.S. indices was
supported by the U.S. Federal Reserve's massive stimulus
efforts, which the central bank only this month started to
withdraw.
    By contrast, Canada's reliance on commodity-linked stocks
has hampered growth as the global economy has spluttered.
    The Canadian index was down 10.71 points, or 0.08 percent,
at 13,577.27 by mid-morning.
    Among the biggest negative influencers, Suncor Energy Inc
 fell 0.5 percent to C$37.06, Royal Bank of Canada
 slipped 0.2 percent to C$71.15, and Goldcorp Inc 
declined 1.1 percent to C$22.85.
    The price of gold has fallen nearly 30 percent this year,
weighing on the many mining companies listed in Toronto and
dragging down the index as a whole. 
    An index of global gold miners, mostly Canadian companies,
has fallen 48 percent this year.
    Caldwell's Kinsey said that the depressed price of gold -
now at $1,200 an ounce - should lead to mine closures which in
turn would put a floor under the price and help the sector
stabilize next year.
    On the positive side, pipeline operators TransCanada Corp
 gained 0.4 percent to C$48.64 and Pembina Pipeline Corp
 added 0.8 percent to C$37.48.