* TSX ends down 8.79 points at 12,164.56
* RIM shares end up 0.2 pct after results (Adds details, quotes)
By Claire Sibonney
TORONTO, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index closed slightly lower on Friday, pulled down by weighty financial and gold shares, while BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion RIM.TO hung on to only a small gain after being up strongly early in the day on robust quarterly results.
On the data front, sentiment was soured by figures showing muted U.S. inflation pressures in August and weaker consumer morale, which kept deflation fears alive and spurred bets that there will be further monetary policy easing in the United Sates. [ID:nN17127427]
Economically sensitive financial issues slipped 0.2 percent. Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) fell 0.4 percent to C$60.37, but Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) was up 0.1 percent at C$54.40.
Gavin Graham, global strategist at Excel Funds Management, said the decline was surprising given expectations that Canadian banks are set to increase dividends following the relaxation of capital requirements.
“All of (the day’s data) goes to indicate that ‘Oh, maybe we are seeing a slowing economy in the States’, which is not going to be good news for bank profits,” he said.
He also pointed to news on Thursday of record-high foreclosures in the U.S. housing sector. [ID:nNLLFKE6GG]
Toronto gold miners declined 0.3 percent, lagging the price of the precious metal, which hit record highs for the third time this week. [GOL/]
“Maybe there’s some profit-taking coming in, or people are switching from the stocks to gold ... gold stocks will catch up at some stage,” Graham said.
“The market can be surprisingly schizophrenic or able to ignore what should be pretty straightforward. If the price of gold is going higher, gold companies will be making more money.”
Alamos Gold (AGI.TO) fell more than 3 percent to C$17.37 but Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO), the world’s No. 1 producer, ended 0.9 percent higher at C$47.52.
The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 8.79 points at 12,164.56, but six of its 10 main groups were actually higher. It gained 0.6 percent for the week.
Energy stocks eked out a 0.1 percent gain despite a fourth straight day of declines for oil prices. Base-metal miners advanced 0.4 percent as copper rallied on reassuring comments from China’s central bank on monetary policy. [O/R] [MET/L]
Suncor Energy (SU.TO) rose 0.6 percent to C$33.23, and First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) jumped 2.7 percent to C$67.45.
RIM closed only 0.2 percent higher at C$47.78, after a bigger rally earlier in the day. Some analysts cut share price targets for the BlackBerry maker, focusing on tough competition and a weak U.S. performance rather than RIM’s robust results. [ID:nN17164687]
Friday marked the quarterly expiry of September equity futures and option contracts, a convergence known as “quadruple witching,” which usually increases volume and swings in trades. However, strategists noted that trading was relatively subdued heading into the close.
($1=$1.03 Canadian) (Editing by Peter Galloway)