TORONTO (Reuters) - The TSX fell moderately on Thursday on lower gold prices and disappointing U.S. earnings news, but advances in the oil and gas group limited the decline.
Gold-mining shares were among the hardest hit. Barrick Gold led all heavyweight decliners with a 2.03 percent drop to C$40.15.
After a sharp rally that took it to record highs in the last two sessions, the gold price dropped 1 percent on Thursday as the U.S. dollar stemmed recent losses.
Kinross Gold fell 1.7 percent to C$23.66, while Agnico-Eagle shed 2.1 percent to C$72.66.
Banks and insurers helped keep the main index pinned lower after quarterly results from a pair of big U.S. banks disheartened investors. Manulife Financial lost 1.2 percent to C$22.21.
Royal Bank of Canada shares were the biggest drag on the main index early on, but they managed to finish up 0.04 percent at C$55.96.
Quarterly results from Goldman Sachs Group and Citigroup Inc failed to live up to the expectations of some investors after a strong showing by JPMorgan on Wednesday.
"We had a couple today that didn't knock the lights out and so the market, after you've had the kind of runs like we've had of late, the market does look for excuses on a short-term basis to sell off," said Peter Chandler, senior vice-president at Canaccord Wealth Management.
"The market is in an orderly fashion digesting news, digesting gains. The line of least resistance for this market at this point in time remains up."
The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 28.27 points, or 0.25 percent, at 11,504.51. Eight of its 10 main groups fell.
On the upside, oil and gas shares were well supported by a 3 percent rise in the oil price to above $77 a barrel. Oil company Canadian Natural Resources topped all notable gainers with a 1.4 percent rise to C$78.58.
Opti Canada Inc was among active stocks on Thursday, rising as much as 12 percent as its partner in the Long Lake oil sands project, Nexen Inc, restarted production after shutting the facility for maintenance in mid-September.
Opti shares, which also often move in tandem with oil prices, jumped 7.9 percent to end at C$2.45.
Editing by Peter Galloway