CANADA STOCKS-TSX steady as U.S. debt worry offsets Barrick gain

Tue Jan 15, 2013 11:34am EST

* TSX down 7.86 points, or 0.06 percent, at 12,585.23
    * Eight of 10 main index sectors decline.
    * Barrick Gold gains on production milestone

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index was
little changed on Tuesday as financial stocks weakened on
concerns about fallout from the battle in Washington over
raising the U.S. borrowing limit, but the drop was offset by
gains in Barrick Gold Corp and other miners.
    U.S. President Barack Obama rejected on Monday any
negotiations with Republicans over raising the U.S. borrowing
limit. That helped pull the Toronto market off
highs spurred by the U.S. budget deal at the start the month
that averted the "fiscal cliff" of massive tax hikes and
spending cuts.
    "The debt ceiling debate is likely to be even more heated.
As a result, markets are skittish on the prospect of that," said
Craig Fehr, Canadian market strategist at Edward Jones in St.
Louis, Missouri. 
    "Ultimately some resolution, some deal will be struck to
avoid U.S. defaults. But it's not going to come without
theatrics in the meantime," he added. "From now until late
February, we are likely to get more volatility in the markets."
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 was down 7.86 points, or 0.06 percent, at 12,585.23.
Eight of the 10 main sectors on the index were trading in the
red.
    The financial sector, the index's largest, slipped 0.4
percent. Manulife Financial Corp fell 2.3 percent to
C$13.99, Bank of Nova Scotia gave back 0.5 percent to
C$57.38, and Toronto-Dominion Bank lost 0.4 percent to
C$81.50.
    Some of the market weakness was outweighed by gains made in
the materials sector, which includes mining stocks, as commodity
prices rose.    
    Barrick rose 2.1 percent to C$34.36 after the miner said it
had achieved commercial production at its Pueblo Viejo mine in
the Dominican Republic. 
    The mine, one of the largest new gold projects in the world,
is a joint venture with Goldcorp Inc, which rose 2
percent to C$37.17. Gold prices were up 0.7 percent..
    "Commodities are likely to continue to bounce around. We're
in an uneven economic recovery in Canada and the United States.
The uneven recovery is going to create uneven moves in commodity
prices," Fehr said.
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