*TSX down 59.49 points, or 0.45 percent, at 13,169.58
*Six of 10 key groups lower, materials fall hardest
*Spot gold price drops below $1,370 an ounce (Adds details, quote)
By Jennifer Kwan
TORONTO, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index was dragged lower by weaker commodity prices on Thursday, with gold falling through a key technical level, as mixed U.S. data kept investors cautious about economic recovery.
Key movers on the downside included Barrick Gold (ABX.TO), down 1.6 percent at C$51.89, and Teck Resources TCKb.TO, which fell 1.5 percent to C$55.72. [GOL/] [MET/L]
Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) dropped 0.5 percent to C$42.30 as oil fell toward $88 a barrel, pressured by the U.S. economic data and lingering concerns about the debt crisis in the eurozone. [O/R]
Francis Campeau, broker at MF Global Canada, in Montreal, pinned some of the market drop on spot gold prices, which fell through the 50-day moving average, a key technical level of around $1,370.
“The 50-day moving day average has been providing good support over the last six months. A movement below that line might trigger some technical funds to reduce positions,” he said.
Gold retreated after data that showed U.S. jobless claims fell for a second week took the wind out of the metal’s safe-haven sails, but concern over euro zone debt levels limited losses. [GOL/]
But while the jobless data suggested growth in the U.S. labor market, data on home construction showed the sector remained distressed. [ID: nN16191367]
Campeau said the mixed data was keeping investors cautious.
At 10:02 a.m. (1502 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 59.49 points, or 0.45 percent, at 13,169.58. Six of the index’s 10 main groups were lower.
George Weston Ltd (WN.TO), the top net gainer, rose 4.8 percent to C$83.17. The food processor and distributor said on Wednesday it will pay a special one-time dividend of C$1 billion. [ID:nSGE6BE0CU]
Baffinland Iron Mines BIM.TO was the most heavily traded stock on the market, rising 0.8 percent to C$1.25. Nunavut Iron, backed by private equity, raised its hostile takeover bid for Baffinland by 69 percent, topping an offer from the world’s No. 1 steelmaker, ArcelorMittal, as the two companies compete for an iron ore deposit that is said to be big enough to supply all of Europe. [ID:nN16206372]
($1=$1.01 Canadian) (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Peter Galloway)