TSX dips from 2-year peak as golds weigh

Thu Dec 30, 2010 4:53pm EST
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By Claire Sibonney

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index retreated slightly on Thursday after hitting a two-year high as weakness in gold miners held back the materials group and investors were wary of taking on more risk before the new year.

All three heavyweight sectors -- financials, materials and energy -- were weaker, on the back of softer bullion and oil prices and after upbeat U.S. economic data failed to lift the market further.

Among the heaviest decliners were Barrick Gold, down 1 percent at C$52.61, Goldcorp Inc, off 0.6 percent at C$45.34, and Cenovus Energy, down 0.8 percent at C$32.95.

"We're a little on a hangover here," said Barry Schwartz, vice-president and portfolio manager at Baskin Financial Services, pointing out that it was still a record year for gold.

"The party of the last six months has been terrific. The last six months have gone straight up on the back of base metals, commodities, materials, and I guess we're just getting some fatigue as we head into the last couple trading days of the year."

However, base-metal miners and fertilizer companies extended their recent ascent. Teck Resources shot 1.8 percent higher to C$60.96, while Agrium also jumped 1.8 percent to C$91.83.

Schwartz noted that huge demand from China has been worked in favor of both of those commodity groups.

The materials group has been one of the most influential TSX sectors of the year and the last several sessions. Copper surged to a record high on Thursday and base-metal miners gained 0.6 percent.   Continued...