* TSX down 49.50 points, or 0.36 pct, at 13,791.85
* Six of 10 main groups advance (Updates with details, comments)
By Solarina Ho
TORONTO, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index finished lower on Friday as a drop in oil and gold prices sideswiped heavyweight resource issues.
Suncor Energy (SU.TO) fell 3.24 percent to C$40.61, while Imperial Oil (IMO.TO) slipped 1.55 percent to C$45.19 and Talisman Energy TLM.TO shed 2.15 percent to finish at C$22.75.
The overall energy group, which make up more than a quarter of the Toronto index, gave back 1.45 percent.
Brent crude futures fell nearly 2 percent after an apparently unfounded media report about a possible announcement from Egypt sparked speculation President Hosni Mubarak could be stepping down.
Crude prices later pared losses, but were still down more than $1. Weak employment data out of the United States also added pressure as the U.S. dollar firmed. [O/R]
A stronger greenback can pressure dollar-dominated oil, because consumers using other currencies must pay producers more, curbing demand.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 49.50 points, or 0.36 percent, at 13,791.85. Six of its 10 main groups ended higher.
The index gained 2.6 percent on the week, hitting its highest level since July 2008 on Thursday as upbeat sentiment on the economy spurred a rally.
“It’s been a pretty good week for the TSX on the whole... The tone of the markets and the resiliency has been quite surprising,” said Elvis Picardo, an analyst and strategist at Global Securities.
“We’re inching toward the 14,000 level, something which didn’t seem possible two years ago, but here we are... The market has been a little cautious in terms of pushing the TSX ever higher, and I think that caution is reflected in today’s modest decline as well.”
The hefty materials group, home to mining companies, was also a decliner, giving back 0.74 percent. Diversified miner Teck Resources TCKb.TO skidded 1.86 percent to C$61.76, while uranium major Cameco Corp (CCO.TO) retreated 2.36 percent to 41.40.
Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) finished down 1.59 percent at C$47.51 while Kinross Gold (K.TO) fell 2.56 percent to C$16.75.
“Gold itself, near term, tread on the upside, so I think the correction is over, but the stocks aren’t telling us that,” said John Ing, president of Maison Placements Canada.
Gold prices softened against a stronger U.S. dollar and the rush to safe-haven bullion eased following the media report out of Egypt. For the week, however, the precious metal notched its first weekly gain of the year. [GOL/]
On the upside, the TSX financial group, which makes up nearly 30 percent of the index, extended its rally, climbing 0.45 percent. Toronto-Dominion Bank TD.TO rose 0.77 percent to end at C$78.23.
The market seemed to largely shrug off a strong Canadian employment report, which showed the economy had recouped all the jobs lost during the recession, offering further evidence the economic recovery was on track. South of the border, the jobs picture was mixed and weighed on U.S. stocks. [ID:nN04174016] [ID:nN0366997] [STXNEWS/US]
“Even though the Canadian numbers were much better than consensus ... the market was sort of anticipating the strength in the jobs numbers,” said Picardo.
“No real surprises in either of the jobs numbers and I think that’s reflected in the tepid market reaction.”
($1=$0.99 Canadian) (Reporting by Solarina Ho; editing by Rob Wilson)