CANADA STOCKS-TSX dips on Barrick as earnings in focus

Wed Feb 13, 2013 4:52pm EST

* TSX ends down 13.74 points, or 0.1 percent, to 12,775.28
    * Barrick Gold down 2.6 pct after African unit disappoints
    * Thomson Reuters shares slip 2.3 percent after results
    * Talisman up 2.1 percent after posting profit

    By Claire Sibonney
    TORONTO, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock market eased
on Wednesday, led by a decline in Barrick Gold Corp,
the world's largest gold producer, after the release of
disappointing earnings from its African subsidiary.
    African Barrick Gold Plc forecast production would
shrink for a fifth straight year and said it would focus on
cutting soaring costs after talks over a possible takeover of
the company collapsed in January. Its shares were off more than
11 percent. 
    That sent Barrick, which owns a majority stake in the
company, 2.6 percent lower to C$31.72. The gold miners as a
whole were down 1.7 percent.
    "We do think the golds are deeply oversold at this point,
but the news that keeps coming out from the companies really
doesn't inspire much confidence," said Elvis Picardo, strategist
and vice president of research at Global Securities in
Vancouver.
    A slew of gold producers is due to report quarterly
earnings, with Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd and Kinross Gold
Corp later on Wednesday and Barrick Gold and Goldcorp Inc
 on Thursday. 
    The drop in gold stocks more than offset a 2.1 percent rise
in the shares of Talisman Energy Inc, which reported a
quarterly profit on gains from asset sales. 
    "We continue to have a mixed earnings picture," said Fred
Ketchen, director of equity trading at ScotiaMcLeod.
    Other major companies that will report results this week
include Encana Corp and Sun Life Financial Inc
.
    A 2.3 percent drop in Thomson Reuters Corp shares
also weighed on the index after its revenue forecast for 2013
failed to impress analysts, although quarterly operating profit
grew 2 percent due to cost cutting. The stock ended at C$30.02.
 
    Still, of the nearly 20 percent of TSX stocks that have
reported earnings for the quarter, 64 percent have met or beat
expectations, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 ended down 13.74 points, or 0.11 percent, at
12,775.28.
    Five of the 10 main sectors on the index were in negative
territory.
    Picardo noted the index was having trouble breaking through
the 12,800 level.
    Part of the problem is heightened concern about the
potential for the Canadian economy, especially given the soft
economic reports of last Friday, including disappointing jobs
and housing data. 
    The market was supported by a 0.2 percent rise in the
financial sector. Royal Bank of Canada gained 0.6
percent to C$63.37. Bank of Nova Scotia rose 0.4
percent to C$58.82.
    "People are very confident with the sector. It's very low
risk," Ketchen said.
    The stable earnings and dividend payouts are also drawing
investors to financials, he added.
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