TSX ends lower for fifth straight session

Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:17pm EST
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By Ka Yan Ng

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index finished lower on Monday but managed to cut its losses toward the end of the session as resource shares regained ground and gold-mining issues rose.

A flare-up of concern over the euro zone debt crisis cast a pall over equities and other risky assets on Monday and that kept the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index on a downward path that is now five sessions long.

"We did think the market was a little frothy last year so we're not surprised to see a bit of a pullback here," said Michael Sprung, president of Sprung & Co Investment Counsel.

"People managed to keep the rally going to the end of the year but now I would think they are taking some profits off the table. Our view all along has been that the market has been ahead of the underlying economic fundamentals."

A Bank of Canada survey showed that companies were optimistic about the next 12 months, but many expect only modest growth, in part due to strong competition and moderate demand. Separately, a senior central bank official said low inflation and weak growth mean interest rates must remain low for now, while households must be wary of taking on too much debt.

The TSX index finished down 27.18 points, or 0.2 percent, at 13,245.12. Nine of its 10 main groups were lower, led by weakness in financials. The utilities group was flat.

Key decliners included Royal Bank of Canada, down 0.63 percent at C$51.69, and Toronto-Dominion Bank, down 0.67 percent at C$73.70.

Fears that Portugal would be forced into a bailout pulled the index down 1 percent earlier in the session, its lowest level in three weeks. A firm price for gold was a factor in the recovery as gold-mining issues were among the few blue chips that eked out gains.   Continued...