TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index ended slightly lower on Tuesday, retreating from a one-week high, as losses from gold miners offset rising confidence on the economic outlook in China, the United States and Germany.
The weighty materials sector fell more than 2 percent, led lower by Kinross Gold K.TO, which plunged more than 20 percent to C$10.39.
“That’s been a bit of a drag on our market, there’s no doubt about that,” said Fred Ketchen, director of equity trading at ScotiaMcLeod.
At least two brokerages cut their ratings on the stock after the miner announced delays of up to nine months at the massive Tasiast gold mine in Mauritania.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended down 25.77 points, or 0.21 percent, at 12,232.83.
Gold miners and banks were the heaviest laggards, including Barrick Gold ABX.TO, down 2.1 percent at C$48.75, Goldcorp G.TO, off 1.8 percent at C$45.67 and Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO, down 0.5 percent at C$51.82.
The TSX swung to losses after hitting its highest level in a week early in the session, as commodity prices rose on upbeat German investment sentiment, brighter prospects for pro-growth monetary policies in China, and healthier regional U.S. manufacturing data.
The news helped investors look past Standard & Poor’s credit downgrade of several euro zone countries last week’s and its Monday downgrade of the region’s primary rescue fund.
However, anxiety remained on the prospects of a Greek debt default, which some fear could happen as soon as March when 14.5 billion euros of bond redemptions fall due.
Toronto financials, which ended flat, saw some spillover from negative U.S. sentiment earlier, after disappointing results from Citigroup C.N and JPMorgan Chase & Co JPM.N.
“Earnings growth is slowing. We’ve come off some very very easy comps in 2011 and earnings growth is going to be a little more modest in 2012,” said Philip Petursson, an analyst with the portfolio advisory group at Manulife Asset Management.
In individual company news, Research In Motion RIM.TO jumped 5.3 percent to C$17.76 after a tech blog said the BlackBerry maker was in talks with South Korean smartphone rival Samsung Electronics.
Additional reporting by Jon Cook; editing by Rob Wilson