By Jennifer Kwan
TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
ended slightly lower Monday, weighed down by weakness in
gold miners and by investor uncertainty about the economic
Barrick Gold sank 1.1 percent to C$46.38, while
Goldcorp fell 1.7 percent to C$43.20 as a firmer
greenback kept bullion prices from rising further and gold
ended largely flat ahead of key U.S. economic data due later
The broader materials sector fell 0.64 percent.
"Lingering yet waning optimism regarding M&A" kept the TSX
above break-even for most of the day, but uncertainty about the
economic outlook dragged on investor sentiment, said Rick
Meslin, head of Canadian equities at UBS.
"What we're seeing now is people take a little bit of money
off," Meslin said. "But for the M&A optimism, I'd expect the
market to be a lot lower as average sentiment about whether the
recovery is going to be there or not has really not become
clear. I'd say sentiment is uncertain at best."
Takeover target Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Inc, a
top net gainer, climbed 0.7 percent to C$158.17.
The No. 1 fertilizer producer was put in play by BHP
Billiton's $39 billion hostile bid. Potash
continues to mull its alternatives and has held discussions
with China's Sinochem Group, a source close to the matter said
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
finished the session down 3.44 points, or 0.03
percent, at 11,718.63. Seven of the index's 10 main groups were
Elvis Picardo, an analyst and strategist at Global
Securities in Vancouver, said there was little direction either
way in the market on Monday as there is "a bit of a news vacuum
here and you still have a very uncertain environment." But he
noted investors were putting money in defensive stocks such as
"You're still having a lot of uncertainty on the back of
some really soft economic numbers in recent weeks. And you're
also heading into a time of year when volatility peaks in the
equity markets," he said.
"What I'm noticing is that investors are gravitating to
stocks that pay really good dividends."
Canada's biggest communications company, BCE Inc,
rose 2.4 percent to C$33.47 while Telus, the No. 2 phone
firm, climbed 2.2 percent to C$43.56.
Pipeline company Enbridge Inc, which ships the
bulk of Canada's oil exports to the United States, climbed 1
percent to C$52.25.
The blue chip S&P/TSX 60 index closed 0.33 of a
point higher, or 0.05 percent, at 683.04.
(Reporting by Jennifer Kwan)