* TSX down 0.32 percent at 12,322.94
* Seven of 10 main sectors finish lower (Updates with details, quotes)
By Solarina Ho
TORONTO, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index closed lower on Monday as mining shares fell on weaker metal prices, pulling the TSX back from two-year highs hit last week.
The heavyweight materials sector, home to mining stocks, was the biggest loser, sinking 1 percent. Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) fell 1.8 percent to C$47.09 and Iamgold (IMG.TO) retreated 1.7 percent to C$17.66.
Gold prices, which were at record highs last week, slipped as U.S. housing data and euro zone worries bolstered the U.S. dollar. [ID:nLDE6930OT] [GOL/] [FRX]
“I just think that we’re backing and filling on the stocks,” said John Ing, president of Toronto investment dealer Maison Placements, noting golds as a group hit a record high last week.
Also in the materials sector, Teck Resources TCKb.TO dropped 2.3 percent to C$42.34 as copper prices eased from two-year highs due to the firmer greenback. [MET/L]
One bright spot in mining was Potash Corp POT.TO. Shares of the fertilizer producer climbed 1.9 percent to C$147.50 after an independent report said BHP Billiton’s $39 hostile bid for the company would be preferable to a Chinese takeover offer. [ID:nN04279177]
The energy sector, another index heavyweight, was down 0.6 percent, as oil prices slipped in part due to the stronger greenback. U.S. crude for November delivery CLc1 settled at $81.47 a barrel.
Encana Corp (ECA.TO) was down 1.5 percent at C$30.38, while Suncor Energy (SU.TO) eased 0.9 percent to C$33.63.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 40.14 points, or 0.32 percent, at 12,322.94. Seven of the index’s 10 main groups ended lower.
“I think you have some profit-taking going on in the market in general ... We had one of the stronger Septembers in the last few years and Octobers can be a little choppy,” said Bruce Latimer, a trader at Dundee Securities, noting that weakness was spread across the board.
The Toronto index moved in tandem with Wall Street, as middling economic data and worries about euro zone debt served as catalysts for taking profits. [.N]
In individual company news, MI Developments MIMa.TO was the top net gainer, jumping 32.4 percent to C$14.43 after it confirmed that a company controlled by billionaire Magna International (MG.TO) founder Frank Stronach plans to make a bid for the real estate firm. [ID:nN04108400]
Research In Motion RIM.TO shares were down 2.1 percent at C$50.12, dragged lower by a weak U.S. technology sector.
“A rising tide raises all boats and a lowering tide takes them all out a bit too,” said Latimer.
“Here we are, the first days into a quarter and I think people are keeping their powder dry.”
($1=$1.02 Canadian) (Additional reporting by Cameron French; editing by Rob Wilson)