CANADA STOCKS-China data pulls TSX lower, gold miners slump

Mon Mar 24, 2014 4:47pm EDT

* TSX falls 57.21 points, or 0.40 percent, to 14,278.55
    * Five of 10 main index sectors decline
    * Gold-mining shares drop 4.4 percent

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, March 24 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
slipped on Monday as disappointing economic data from China
weighed on sentiment and a slump in the price of bullion sent
gold-mining shares tumbling to their biggest single-day drop in
more than three months.
    A survey showed that China's manufacturing industry
contracted in the first quarter of 2014, adding to a slew of
recent data indicating that China, a big buyer of Canadian
resources, is struggling to maintain growth. 
    Investors also digested figures showing a solid pace of
growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector in the first quarter.
 
    Shares of gold producers fell with the price of bullion as
investors feared the impact of rising U.S. interest rates.
 
    The Toronto stock market's benchmark index was lower after
recording a 0.8 percent gain the previous week. It is still up
about 5 percent this year.
    "I think the market is going to go through a very uncertain
period here, without much direction," said Michael Sprung,
president of Sprung Investment Management.
    "The economic numbers in the United States point to a
strengthening economy, but the fear is that it won't take too
much to stall the recovery," he added. "I don't think we're
going to see much buoyancy, at least in the immediate future."
    Sprung expects the Canadian market to pull back in the near
term, but he is optimistic about prospects for the year in
general.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 closed down 57.21 points, or 0.40 percent, at
14,278.55. Five of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the
red.
    Gold-mining shares dropped 4.4 percent, hurt by a 2 percent
fall in the price of bullion. Barrick Gold Corp lost
4.6 percent to C$20.75, and Goldcorp Inc gave back 4.2
percent to C$28.61.
    Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, added
0.3 percent. Royal Bank of Canada was up 0.4 percent at
C$72.43, and Toronto-Dominion Bank advanced 0.3 percent
to C$51.70.
    Shares of energy producers advanced following a gain in the
price of oil. Suncor Energy Inc climbed 1.4 percent to
C$36.86.
 ($1=$1.12 Canadian)

 (Editing by Peter Galloway and Matthew Lewis)
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