October 31, 2008 / 8:57 PM / 10 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-Falling metals prices pull TSX to loss

*TSX logs biggest monthly drop in a decade in October

*Benchmark index ends week up 5 percent

*Goldcorp, Centerra, Eldorado fall after results

TORONTO, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index closed lower on Friday, logging its biggest monthly drop in a decade, pulled down by falling gold and base metals prices, which were pressured by a stronger U.S. dollar and demand concerns.

Leading the way down were oil company EnCana Corp (ECA.TO), which dropped 2.3 percent to C$61.23, and miner Barrick Gold (ABX.TO), which fell 7.8 percent to C$27.56.

The index had risen in the three previous sessions on firmer commodity prices.

The energy group was 0.5 percent lower, even though oil rebounded on a late day short-covering rally to settle up $1.85 at $67.81 a barrel. Crude ended the month down more than 32 percent, its biggest monthly fall to date. [ID:nSP407200]

Gold logged its biggest monthly drop in 25 years, hit by a stronger U.S. dollar and recession fears [ID:nLV498323], which helped to push the materials sector 5 percent lower.

Among gold miners reporting quarterly results were Goldcorp (G.TO), which fell 8.1 percent to C$22.54, Centerra Gold (CG.TO), down 12.5 percent at C$1.05, and Eldorado Gold (ELD.TO), down 5.9 percent at C$4.98. [ID:nN31335225]

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 93.45 points, or 0.95 percent, at 9,762.76, with four of the index’s 10 main groups lower.

The benchmark was up 5 percent on the week, but in October it fell 16.9 percent, its biggest monthly decline since August 1998.

The index fell sharply at the open, tracking losses on global markets as Japan’s interest rate cut failed to ease concerns about the world economic outlook. [ID:nLV17353]

But by the end of the day it had taken back much of its initial 2.5 percent drop, a sign that investor confidence is slowing coming back, said Lex Kerkovius, senior research analyst at McLean & Partners Wealth Management Ltd in Calgary.

“You’re starting to see greater signs of confidence. We’ve been able to put at least three days together back to back,” he said.

“We’re not having these gigantic reaction days anymore; one day up, the next day down by the same amount. We tend to be moving in the right direction. I’m not saying we’re going to go back down and test, but certainly there seems to be a general feeling of more confidence in the market.”

The market was also kept under pressure by news that Canada’s economy shrank 0.3 percent in August on weakness in the manufacturing, wholesale trade and energy sectors.[ID:nN31397290] ($1=$1.21 Canadian) (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; Editing by Peter Galloway)

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