CANADA STOCKS-TSX falls as energy weakness offsets Barrick gains
* 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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