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Canadian stocks down as gold plunges to 9-month low

Xinhua, November 24, 2016 Adjust font size:

Canada's main stock market in Toronto faded on Wednesday as gold prices slipped to its lowest point since February following favourable U.S. economic data.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's benchmark Standard & Poor's/TSX Composite Index fell 19.47 points, or 0.13 percent, to close at 15,080.91 points. Three of the ten sub-sectors finished the day in negative territory.

With the four U.S. indexes at an all-time high and the likelihood of an interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve in December, the spot price of gold fell 1.82 percent to 1189.40 U.S. dollars an ounce, the lowest since February.

The TSX Materials group, which features producers of gold, precious metals and fertilizers, dipped 2.55 percent during the session. As a result, shares of gold miners Kinross Gold Corporation and IAMGOLD Corporation dipped 8.19 percent to 4.26 Canadian dollars (3.17 U.S. dollars) and 7.31 percent to 4.82 Canadian dollars (3.57 U.S. dollars), respectively.

Others hit hard were Eldorado Gold (5.54 percent), Yamana Gold (4.81 percent), and Barrick Gold (4.50 percent).

Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan shares fell 1.41 percent to 23.73 Canadian dollars (17.58 U.S. dollars) after the world's largest producer of fertilizer by capacity announced plans to cut production in their Cory, Saskatchewan mine by 43 percent due to falling fertilizer prices. The reduction will result in the loss of 100 full-time jobs and 40 part-time jobs.

Health care group also fell during the day, slipping 2.47 percent after Quebec-based pharmaceutical firms ProMetic Life Sciences Inc. and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., dipping 6.30 percent and 4.75 percent respectively. The sector has lost ground in four straight sessions and is down nearly 40 percent over the last 12 months.

The groups to come out ahead on Wednesday were Financials (0.45 percent), Utilities (0.41 percent) Consumer Discretionary (0.22 percent), Information Technology (0.19 percent) and Energy (0.11 percent).

Financials was boosted by three of Canada's largest banks gaining. Shares of Bank of Montreal, Royal Bank of Canada, and Toronto-Dominion Bank had respective gains of 0.75 percent, 0.65 percent, and 0.57 percent.

Energy group ticked up as natural gas prices advanced 1.01 percent to 3.012 U.S. dollars per million British thermal units. Brent crude oil prices for January closed the day unchanged at 48.99 U.S. dollars a barrel.

The Canadian dollar closed the day down 0.0024 cent to 0.7409 U.S. dollars. Endite