January 3, 2013 / 10:29 PM / 6 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX falls as miners drag; jobs data on tap

* TSX falls 70.33 points, or 0.56 percent, to 12,470.44
    * Five of 10 main sectors decline
    * Gold stocks decline with falling gold prices

    By Solarina Ho
    TORONTO, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index fell on
Thursday, as lower metal prices pressured mining stocks, while
investors cashed in after Wednesday's rally and positioned
before Friday's North American employment data.
    "This is a little bit of a reflex back from what was an
exceptionally strong day in the markets yesterday," said Craig
Fehr, Canadian market strategist at Edward Jones in St. Louis,
Missouri, referring to the prior session's climb to a nine-month
    The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, slumped
2.75 percent. Eight of the 10 biggest drags on the index were
miners. Goldcorp Inc led with a 4.68 percent fall to
C$35.22. Barrick Gold Corp slid 2.85 percent to
    Gold prices fell more than 1 percent on signs Federal
Reserve officials are increasingly worried about the risks of
the central bank's asset purchases on financial markets,
reducing bullion's appeal as a hedge against inflation.
    Copper prices also eased as the dollar firmed on worries
about new budget battles between U.S. lawmakers in the wake of
the "fiscal cliff" deal. 
    U.S. President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans
face even bigger budget battles in the next two months after a
hard-fought "fiscal cliff" deal narrowly averted potentially
devastating austerity measures in the way of tax increases and
spending cuts. 
    "The next battle is going to be the debt ceiling, and then
after that it's going to be the sequester. The debt ceiling
debate especially sounds like it's going to be fairly nasty,"
said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall,
MacDougall & MacTier.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 gave back 70.33 points, or 0.56 percent, to finish at
12,470.44. Five of the 10 main sectors of the index were in
negative territory.
    "It's largely a broad-based pullback as investors take
positions ahead of what's likely to be a charged employment
report tomorrow," said Fehr, adding that investors were also
positioning portfolios "ahead of what's likely going to an
interesting year in markets."
    Losses were modestly tempered by slight gains in the
financial and energy groups -- two index heavy-weights that make
up more than 50 percent of the TSX. 
    Financials were up 0.12 percent. Manulife Financial Corp
 was the most influential gainer, adding 1.98 percent to
close at C$13.94, while Toronto Dominion Bank gave back
0.99 percent to end at C$82.37.
    Energy stocks managed to eke out a 0.06 percent gain.
Canadian Natural Resources was up 1.13 percent at
C$29.54, while Encana Corp added 1.45 percent to
C$80.80. Oil prices eased after hitting 11-week highs earlier,
as profit-taking and Fed minutes weighed. 
    In company news, Reitmans Canada Ltd was down 4.16
percent at C$11.98 after the apparel retailer reporter lower
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