TSX dips with weaker technology stocks; gold shares cushion losses

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index dipped on Friday as a selloff in U.S. technology stocks spilled over to Canada’s technology sector, but defensive names such as gold stocks helped cushion losses.

A man walks past an old Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) sign in Toronto, June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Canadian stocks held up better than those on Wall Street despite a weak Canadian jobs report. Indeed, Canada's market has fallen less than 2 percent since the start of 2016, comparing favorably to the 8 percent drubbing suffered by the S&P 500 .SPX over the same period.

“It does feel that the TSX is trying to find a bottom here,” said Elvis Picardo, strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.

The index fell 0.5 percent for the week, but it has rebounded nearly 11 percent from the three-year low hit in January.

The information technology sector fell 4 percent after weak forecasts from U.S. technology companies weighed on U.S. stocks. It included a 4.3 percent drop in CGI Group Inc GIBa.TO to C$57.81.

The most influential movers on the index also included Canadian National Railway Co CNR.TO which fell 2 percent to C$74.22 and Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc ATDb.TO, which was down 2.5 percent at C$58.01.

Toronto-Dominion Bank TD.TO was down 0.4 percent at C$52.26, while the overall financial services group dipped 0.2 percent.

Financials face a myriad of issues, according to Luciano Orengo, a portfolio manager at Manulife Asset Management. They include downward pressure on interest rates and loan-loss concerns related to the energy sector, but also over-leveraged consumers and “housing prices sticking out like a sore thumb.”

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 10.51 points, or 0.08 percent, at 12,763.99. Six of the index's 10 main groups were in negative territory.

“The market has gotten a bit cheaper, but it’s not at levels where you will want to be pounding the table to jump in and buy.” said Orengo.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, rose 2.7 percent.

It included strength in gold stocks after gold XAU= rose 1.5 percent to a three-month high. Goldcorp Inc G.TO rose 6.3 percent to C$19.12, while Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO was up 5.1 percent at C$16.19.

Dairy company Saputo rose 4.9 percent to C$36.93 as analysts upped their price targets on the stock following quarterly earnings.

Bce Inc BCE.TO rose 1.1 percent to C$58.16.

Additional reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by W Simon and Chizu Nomiyama