CANADA STOCKS-TSX steady as U.S. shutdown hits energy, boosts gold

Wed Oct 2, 2013 5:16pm EDT

* TSX falls 8.44 points, or 0.07 percent, to 12,839
    * Five of 10 main index sectors decline
    * Canadian Natural has biggest negative influence on market

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index was
little changed on Wednesday as a U.S. government shutdown hit
the energy and financial sectors, but boosted the bullion price
and gold-mining stocks.
    A day after The Democratic-led U.S. Senate voted to kill
Republicans' latest attempts to modify an emergency government
funding bill, hopes the debt crisis would be resolved soon began
to dwindle. 
    The uncertainty spurred a jump in gold, which is seen as a
safe-haven asset, as investors placed bets on the commodity.
Gold stocks gained as a result.
    "The market continues to say: 'This is a temporary blip,
don't get too distracted by it, but drive on, '" said Robert
McWhirter, president and portfolio manager at Selective Asset
Management Inc.
    Investors will start to panic only if the shutdown extends
beyond a few weeks, he added.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 closed down 8.44 points, or 0.07 percent, at 12,839. 
    Five of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the red.
    The financial group fell 0.4 percent. Royal Bank of Canada
, the country's biggest lender, dropped 0.5 percent to
C$66.35. Toronto Dominion Bank gave back 0.3 percent to
C$92.04.
    Energy shares shed 0.8 percent, with Canadian Natural
Resources Ltd falling 1.8 percent to C$32.23 and having
the biggest negative influence on the market. Suncor Energy Inc
 lost almost 1 percent to C$36.81.
    But the rise in gold stocks pushed the materials sector,
which includes mining shares, up 1.3 percent.
    Barrick Gold Corp rose 2.3 percent to C$19.02 and
Goldcorp Inc added 1 percent to C$26.31.
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