* TSX closes down 98.67 points, 0.74 percent, at 13,152.00
* Nine of the index’s 10 main groups lower
* Gold prices fall 1 percent (Adds details, analyst’s comments)
By Solarina Ho
TORONTO, Dec 8 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index tumbled lower on Wednesday as sinking gold prices spearheaded a broad-based retreat.
All but one of the TSX’s 10 main groups finished lower, with the fall led by the materials sector, which was down 2 percent, as commodity prices took a hit from a surging U.S. dollar.
Barrick Gold (ABX.TO), the world’s largest producer, dropped 2.36 percent to C$53.47. Goldcorp (G.TO) was not far behind, falling 2.89 percent to C$45.99.
The gold miners dropped on a 1 percent fall in bullion prices, which were hurt by profit-taking for a second day after hitting record highs. [GOL/]
“We’re seeing some fairly large profit-taking in these stocks, which had a fairly aggressive run over the last few sessions,” said Francis Campeau, a broker at MF Global Canada.
The energy group, another index powerhouse, fell 0.98 percent on an unexpectedly large increase in U.S. fuel inventories and a stronger U.S. dollar. [O/R]
Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) slid 2.32 percent to C$42.07, while Suncor Energy (SU.TO), gave back 1.64 percent to finish at C$36.06.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished down 98.67 points, or 0.74 percent, at 13,152.00.
South of the border, plans to extend Bush-era tax cuts sent the U.S. dollar higher amid expectations of improved economic growth, though that was mixed with fears of an even bigger U.S. budget deficit. [US/]
“That’s giving people a little bit of a pause — a little bit of a concern it’s going against what (Federal Reserve Chairman) Ben Bernanke is trying to achieve,” said Youssef Zohny, associate portfolio manager, Van Arbor Asset Management.
“There’s also a little bit of speculation that the Fed may not be as aggressive on the monetary easing side as the U.S. government extends some tax cuts.”
The index’s financial group was the lone advancer, rising 0.56 percent. Manulife Financial (MFC.TO) gained 3.97 percent to 15.98, while Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) was up 1.43 percent at C$73.20.
“What you’re seeing is a little bit of rotation from gold stocks into the financials,” said Zhony.
Campeau also noted investors were putting money into high dividend paying stocks, such as Rogers Communications (RCIb.TO), which was up 1.93 percent at C$35.45.
Bonterra Energy (BNE.TO) was the biggest net gainer, up C$3.13, or 7.06 percent, at C$47.48. The oil and gas company has climbed more than 12 percent since announcing a dividend on Dec. 2.
($1=$1.01 Canadian) (Reporting by Solarina Ho; editing by Peter Galloway and Rob Wilson)