TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index finished lower on Wednesday, its fourth straight loss, as gains in Canadian Pacific Railway (CP.TO), Rogers Communications Inc (RCIb.TO) and Teck Resources on positive quarterly results were offset by weaker gold shares.
Goldcorp (G.TO) tracked bullion prices, sliding 3.46 percent to C$40.79. The precious metal fell to around $1,700 an ounce, pressured by worries about a U.S. economic slowdown, but recovered from near 7-week lows after the Federal Reserve stuck to its plan to keep stimulating growth until the job market improves.
The gold group has fallen 4.15 percent since Monday, while bullion prices have shed about 1.5 percent during the same period. The overall materials group, of which gold firms are a part, was down 1.02 percent.
Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished down 30.82 points, or 0.25 percent, at 12,195.02 after spending the day gyrating between positive and negative territory. The index has fallen 2.17 percent since Friday, with more than half the losses occurring in the previous session.
Weak earnings outlook and revenue misses at large U.S. companies kept market sentiment subdued, while no mention of an improving labor market in a statement from the Federal Reserve led stocks to retreat late in the day.
Pat McHugh, Canadian equity strategist at Manulife Asset Management said positive news from China and from corporate earnings helped ease some of the negative tone in the market.
CP Rail shares surged 6.02 percent to C$93.18 as the railway's profit jumped 20 percent, while Rogers climbed 3.29 percent to C$42.43 after the mobile phone company reported a higher percentage of smartphone subscribers.
Canada's largest diversified miner, Teck Resources, climbed 2.78 percent to C$31.39, as its earnings per share were not far off analysts' expectations despite a sharp fall in profit.
"There are good aspects from all those three companies in there. That probably helped set the tone for a bit of a recovery day," said McHugh, but added, "No one is popping champagne."
The companies played the biggest role of any three stocks in supporting the market. The industrials sector, which includes CP Rail, was up 1.36 percent, providing the most support for the broader market. The telecoms group, home to Rogers, rose 0.92 percent.
News that a survey showed China's economy was making a slow, steady recovery from its weakest period of growth in three years was also supportive.
In other company news, Encana Corp (ECA.TO), Canada's largest gas producer, posted a third-quarter loss as it recorded a $1.19 billion after-tax impairment charge due to a fall in natural gas prices.
Encana shares fell 3.1 percent to C$21.86. The overall energy group ease 0.5 percent, as oil prices eased on rising U.S. crude inventories and weak euro zone data.
Editing by Diane Craft