TSX dips as energy and mining stocks lose ground

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index fell on Monday as lower oil and gold prices weighed on energy and mining shares and as Restaurant Brands International Inc declined after reporting quarterly earnings.

A man walks past an old Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) sign in Toronto, June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

The modest loss for the index follows its highest close on Friday in 16 months. The index has rallied 29 percent since hitting a three-year low in January.

Low interest rates and still positive economic growth are supportive of a market that has been grinding higher. But investors have a “whole bunch of excuses” not to trade between now and year-end, including the U.S. presidential election, the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday and Federal Reserve interest rate decisions, said Paul Hand, managing director at RBC Capital Markets.

Shares of Restaurant Brands International fell 4.5 percent to C$59.80. The owner of Burger King and Tim Hortons reported a second straight quarter of decline in comparable sales at Burger King in the United States and Canada.

The biggest drags on the index included some of the country’s major energy pipeline companies.

Enbridge Inc fell 0.9 percent to C$58.22 and TransCanada Corp declined 1.4 percent to C$61.94, while the overall energy group was down 0.6 percent as oil prices fell.

U.S. crude oil futures settled 33 cents lower at $50.52 a barrel, pressured by news of the impending restart of Britain’s Buzzard oilfield. [O/R]

The materials group lost 0.9 percent as gains for fertilizer companies were overshadowed by losses for gold stocks.

Barrick Gold fell 2.1 percent to C$22.09, while spot gold was down 0.2 percent as the U.S. dollar reached a nearly nine-month high against a basket of major currencies.

“The golds are sloppy. They have been for a while for now,” Hand said.

The global gold mining sub-sector fell 1.9 percent. It had gained steadily since the beginning of the year, but has faltered since August.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index closed down 16.03 points, or 0.11 percent, at 14,923.01.

Just four of the index’s 10 main groups ended lower.

Toronto-Dominion Bank and TD Ameritrade are buying Scottrade Financial Services for $4 billion in a deal that would combine two of the biggest U.S. discount brokerages, the companies said.

Shares of Toronto-Dominion Bank rose 0.3 percent to C$60.16, while the overall financials group firmed 0.2 percent.

Among other groups that gained ground, consumer staples rose 0.5 percent and information technology was up 0.8 percent.

Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Cynthia Osterman