CANADA STOCKS-TSX falls as energy weakness offsets Barrick gains

Thu Feb 14, 2013 11:53am EST

* TSX falls 21.28 points, or 0.17 percent, to 12,754
    * Nine of 10 main sectors decline.
    * BlackBerry shares volatile after former co-CEO sells stake
    * Barrick climbs 4.1 percent after results

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
dropped on Thursday as data showed Europe falling deeper into
recession and energy stocks declined, offsetting a rise in
Barrick Gold Corp as investors found a silver lining in
a sharp quarterly loss reported by the world's biggest gold
miner.
    Encana Corp, Canada's largest natural gas producer,
dropped 4.6 percent after it offered a 2013 production target
for oil and natural gas liquids that was lower than expected.
Falling oil prices further weighed on Canadian oil and gas
shares. 
    The market tracked data that showed the German economy
contracted by 0.6 percent in the last three months of 2012, its
worst performance since the global financial crisis was raging
in 2009. The French economy contracted 0.3 percent, a slightly
worse performance than expected. 
     The figures made 2012 the first full year since 1995 in
which no quarter produced economic growth in the euro zone.
    "Europe still has big problems. The fact that it appears to
be going deeper into a recession should impact the global
markets and Canada is not going to be excluded," said Michael
Sprung, president of Sprung Investment Management.
    At late morning, the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX
composite index was down 21.28 points, or 0.17
percent, at 12,754. Nine of the 10 main sectors on the index
were in the red.
    The energy sector lost almost 1 percent and played the
biggest role in leading the market lower.
    In company news, Blackberry's former co-chief
executive, Jim Balsillie, disclosed that he had sold his
once-sizable stake in the embattled smartphone maker. Shares of
BlackBerry, which launched its make-or-break BlackBerry 10
smartphone last month, initially slipped on the news before
climbing 1.1 percent to C$14.15. 
    "The stock is more of a speculation than an investment at
this point," Sprung said. "You're going to see huge volatility
in BlackBerry until it becomes apparent one way or the other
whether (BlackBerry 10) is a success or not."
    The index's materials sector, which includes mining stocks,
gained 0.6 percent, benefiting from earnings results and higher
gold prices. 
    Barrick Gold reported a fourth-quarter loss after booking a
$3.8 billion charge to write down the value of its copper mine
in southern Africa. But shares of the world's biggest gold miner
added 4.1 percent to C$33.02 as profit before special items beat
market expectations. 
    Another big gainer was Kinross Gold Corp, which on
Wednesday reported higher fourth-quarter revenue. The stock was
up 4.7 percent at C$8.28.
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