March 8, 2010 / 5:18 PM / 9 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX edges lower as resources retreat

* TSX down 12.95 points, or 0.11 percent, at 11,962.19

* Resource issues fall as oil, gold prices drop

* RIM rises 5 percent after analyst upgrade (Recasts, adds quotes)

By Jennifer Kwan

TORONTO, March 8 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock market index sank on Monday, after touching its highest point in eight weeks, as weaker oil and metal prices pulled down heavily weighted resource issues.

Suncor Energy (SU.TO) was down 0.3 percent at C$31.78 and Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) dropped 0.7 percent to C$73.97, as oil prices weakened below $81 a barrel. [O/R]

Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) and Kinross Gold (K.TO) dropped 2 percent as gold prices slid. [GOL/]

At 12:00 p.m. (1700 GMT), the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 12.95 points, or 0.11 percent, at 11,962.19.

After piercing 12,000, the index is likely to drift into a consolidation period over the next few days, said Bruce Latimer, a trader at Dundee Securities.

“I think 12,000 is an important level — it’s a psychological level,” he said.

“The market has been pretty strong already in the first week of March and we’re coming into two weeks of March-break holiday. Volumes are a little light already. I wouldn’t expect the market to move too far in either direction.”

As well, Toronto stocks are following a broader trend of slightly weaker U.S. stocks, said John Johnston, chief strategist for Harbour Group at RBC Dominion Securities.

“You’ve had a nice bit of a bounce here so you’re starting to run into some overhead resistance,” he said.

Shortly after the open the index rose to 12,039.51, its highest level since Jan. 11.

On the upside was Research In Motion RIM.TO, which leapt 5 percent to C$75.22 after an analyst upgraded the stock on expectations the BlackBerry maker will report strong quarterly results and issue a robust outlook. [ID:nN08174972][CA-RCH]

Shares of Quadra Mining QUA.TO shot 5.5 percent higher to C$16.39. Quadra said on Monday it has agreed to form a joint venture with China’s largest utility company to develop its huge Sierra Gorda project in Chile, expected to cost more than $2 billion. [ID:nN08165352]

Canadian mining companies could also attract some attention this week, with the annual Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention in Toronto drawing more than 20,000 miners, analysts, and resource pundits. [ID:nN07142200]

$1=$1.03 Canadian Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Rob Wilson

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