* TSX down 8.73 points at 12,033.53
* Six of 10 index sectors lower; gold shares down (Adds company details)
By Jennifer Kwan
TORONTO, Sept 9 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index ended slightly lower on Thursday, pressured by weak bullion prices as investors unwound safe-haven trades after the release of favorable U.S. economic data.
New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week to a two-month low, while the trade deficit narrowed sharply in July, hopeful signs for the sputtering economic recovery. [ID:nN09174403]
The U.S. data robbed gold of some of its safe-haven luster, helping to push down the resource-laden Toronto index’s hefty materials sector by 1.7 percent.
Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) slid 3.2 percent to C$45.69, and Goldcorp Inc (G.TO) dropped 2 percent to C$42.79 as gold prices swooned further in late trading on Thursday with some investors setting off automatic sell orders on the way down. [GOL/]
“We’re seeing some profit-taking across the board, but mostly in the gold sector. Gold stocks were under pressure and today we triggered some more selling,” said Francis Campeau, broker at MF Global Canada, in Montreal
“We’ve had a good run. The technicals are not great.”
Campeau added investors were generally more optimistic about the global recovery and had fewer fears of a double-dip recession, helping to boost U.S. equities.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished the session lower by 8.73 points at 12,033.53, the TSX’s third straight falling session.
Six of its 10 main groups were lower.
The blue chip S&P/TSX 60 index .TSE60 closed 0.70 of a point lower, or 0.1 percent, at 700.80.
The U.S. data helped boost the TSX’s energy and financial issues, up 0.5 percent and 1 percent respectively.
Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc ATDb.TO down 0.6 percent at C$23.05, remained in the spotlight as a fresh suitor, identified by sources as 7-Eleven, set the stage for a possible bidding war for Casey’s General Stores CASY.O. [ID:nN09130120]
Quebecor’s QBRa.TO Videotron cable arm launched 3G wireless service on Thursday, a move likely to pressure prices in an increasingly congested Canadian market. Its shares were off 0.2 percent at C$35.50. [ID:nN09185742]
Transat AT Inc TRZa.TO, up 3 percent at C$13.95, said a rise in travel to Europe and higher pricing helped strong third-quarter results and will boost revenue and margins in the current quarter, sending the tour operator’s shares up as much as 7 percent. [ID:nSGE6880H2]
$1=$1.03 Canadian Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson