TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index fell on Tuesday in a broad retreat led by energy stocks as oil prices weakened, while gold miners offset the losses as bullion hit a near three-week high.
Four energy stocks were the heaviest weights on the index and the group lost 1.6 percent overall, as oil prices fell after a recent push above $50 a barrel.
The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, was the only one of 10 main groups to gain, adding 1.8 percent.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index closed down 52.38 points, or 0.35 percent, at 14,870.63.
“This is more of a mean reversion behavior in the market, not necessarily a decisive move,” said Sid Mokhtari, director of institutional equity research at CIBC World Markets. “It’s been so far so good in Canada particularly.”
The index closed at a 16-month high on Friday, after rallying about 29 percent since hitting a three-year low in January.
Mokhtari said investors betting on economic growth were broadly moving into industrial, transportation, technology and energy stocks and away from the telecom and consumer sectors.
The day’s most influential gainer was Barrick Gold Corp, which rose 2.2 percent to C$22.57. Sources told Reuters that two Chinese miners had held talks with Barrick about buying a 50 percent stake in its Veladero gold mine in Argentina.
Other gold miners also rose as prices for the precious metal rose to an almost three-week high on Tuesday, lifted by the U.S. dollar’s retreat from multi-month highs and stronger physical demand before India’s late-October festival season. [GOL/]
Auto parts maker Magna International Inc declined 1.2 percent to C$54.13. Telecom companies also fell, with Rogers Communications Inc down 0.9 percent to C$53.40 and BCE Inc off 0.9 percent to C$60.57.
Rogers last week parted ways with its chief executive.
The heavyweight financials group slipped 0.3 percent, with insurer Manulife Financial Corp down 1.2 percent at C$19.39.
Suncor Energy Inc fell 0.8 percent to C$39 and Encana Corp lost 3.9 percent to C$13.88. Pipeline company TransCanada Corp slipped 1.3 percent to C$61.13 and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd lost 1.3 percent to C$43.68.
Shares in BlackBerry Ltd fell 1 percent to C$9.72 after the technology company launched its third Android-based phone, opting to price it cheaper than competing products.
West Fraser Timber Co Ltd surged 12.3 percent to C$44.18 after the lumber company posted strong earnings after the bell on Monday.
Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Paul Simao and Richard Chang