TSX ends lower but posts big weekly gain

Fri Dec 2, 2011 5:48pm EST
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By Julie Gordon and Jennifer Kwan

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index closed lower on Friday as investors booked some profits after the TSX notched its biggest weekly gain in more than two years on optimism that steps were being taken to resolve Europe's debt crisis.

The mining-heavy materials sector dragged the index lower, as shares of gold miners slid despite spot gold edging higher to post its largest weekly gain in more than a month.

This was countered by strong financials, which were lifted by better than expected earnings from two of the country's largest banks.

Also helping investor sentiment was data that showed the U.S. unemployment rate fell to a 2-1/2 year low of 8.6 percent in November as companies stepped up hiring, further evidence the U.S. economic recovery was gaining momentum.

"I would have to think we've had a good week," said Fred Ketchen, director of equity trading at ScotiaMcLeod. "It's Friday and people don't want to go home without locking in some profits. I think we have seen that take place today."

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index ended down 38.20 points, or 0.32 percent, at 12,075.09. Four of the index's 10 sectors were in positive territory.

Goldcorp, Canada's second largest gold producer, was the biggest weight on the index, slipping 3.7 percent to C$52.33. Barrick Gold, the world's No. 1 producer, also dragged on the materials sector, falling 3 percent to C$51.88.

Technology issues also fell, as Research In Motion plunged 9.2 percent to C$17.08 after the BlackBerry maker warned it would fall short of its financial targets after taking a huge charge to write down inventories on its underwhelming PlayBook tablet.   Continued...