TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index slipped on Wednesday, led by a sharp selloff in gold mining shares and broad declines in most other sectors, after comments from President Barack Obama revived worries about the crisis in Ukraine.
While the United States and the European Union decided to work together to prepare possible tougher economic sanctions on Moscow, Obama said Russian President Vladimir Putin had miscalculated if he thought he could divide the West or count on its indifference over his annexation of Crimea.
Data showed a rebound in orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods in February, with shipments showing strength after two straight months of declines.
But those bullish numbers weighed on the price of bullion, which slid toward the $1,300-an-ounce mark. As a result, shares of the yellow metal’s producers recorded their biggest single-day drop in more than three months. <GOL/>
The Toronto market, which has swung back and forth on the Ukraine developments, has been grinding higher in 2014 and is up about 4 percent so far this year.
“The market is taking a little rest here, particularly in the light of the Ukraine situation,” said David Cockfield, managing director and portfolio manager at Northland Wealth Management.
“It’s nothing dramatic,” he added. “I‘m not surprised that this little bit of consolidation is going on and I‘m not that concerned just yet.”
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended down 115.39 points, or 0.81 percent, at 14,184.10. Seven of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the red.
Financials, the index’s most heavily weighted sector, fell 0.5 percent, with Bank of Montreal BMO.TO declining 0.4 percent to C$73.53.
Energy shares shrugged off higher U.S. crude oil prices, dropping 0.5 percent. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd CNQ.TO gave back 1 percent to C$41.35, and Enbridge Inc ENB.TO was down 0.3 percent at C$49.62.
Among gold-mining stocks, Goldcorp Inc G.TO shed 4.6 percent to C$27.18, and Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO slipped 4.2 percent to C$19.80.
Turquoise Hill TRQ.TO dropped 1.6 percent, to C$3.76, after technical problems hurt first-quarter production at the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine in Mongolia. Turquoise Hill owns a majority interest in Oyu Tolgoi and is controlled by Rio Tinto RIO.L.
In other corporate news, Pembina Pipeline PPL.TO jumped as much as 4.6 percent, hitting a 52-week high, after being added to the S&P/TSX 60 .TSE60 index late on Tuesday.
“There’s no hype to Pembina Pipeline. It’s a real company that delivers the goods,” said Barry Schwartz, a portfolio manager at Baskin Financial, which owns the stock. “What I care about is owning companies that provide products and services that we cannot live without, and Pembina Pipeline is one of them.”
Editing by Chris Reese and G Crosse