CANADA STOCKS-TSX flat in light trading; TransCanada, gold miners drop

Mon Apr 21, 2014 5:39pm EDT

* TSX closes down 6.71 points, or 0.05 percent, at 14,493.68
    * TransCanada off 3.7 percent on Keystone XL pipeline delay
    * Gold miners drop as Barrick-Newmont merger talks hit snag

    By Solarina Ho
    TORONTO, April 21 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index was
little changed in thin Easter holiday trading on Monday with
drops in Barrick Gold Corp and TransCanada Corp
, which was hit by another delay for its Keystone XL
pipeline project, offsetting gains in other groups.
    Markets in Europe, Hong Kong and Australia were closed for
Easter Monday.
    TransCanada was the biggest drag on the index, closing down
3.7 percent at C$49.38 after the Obama administration again
delayed a decision on whether to approve the Keystone project.
Several analysts downgraded the stock. 
    The TSX index's energy group, of which TransCanada is a
part, was off 0.05 percent.
    The heavily weighted materials group, home to gold miners,
was down 0.4 percent, hurt by Barrick, which fell 3.9 percent to
C$19.03.
    Merger talks between Barrick and Newmont Mining Corp 
hit a snag, but sources close to the situation say the companies
remain keen to reach a deal and discussions are likely to
resume. 
    "There was some expectation built into Barrick stock. To see
that come under question has obviously impacted that stock
today," said Craig Fehr, Canadian market strategist at Edward
Jones in St. Louis, Missouri. 
    Overall, Fehr said the TSX index was not driven by any broad
themes at the industry or market level, and that the market
would be focused on quarterly earnings results in the coming
days and weeks.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 finished the session down 6.71 points, or 0.05
percent, at 14,493.68. Six of the index's 10 main sectors edged
lower.   
    "Keep in mind half the world's away on holiday, Easter
Monday ... A lot of the players are not around," said Irwin
Michael, portfolio manager at ABC Funds.
    Osisko Mining Corp shares slid 3.4 percent to
C$7.73 after Goldcorp Inc announced it was dropping its
hostile bid to buy the smaller miner. Goldcorp rose 2 percent to
C$26.53. 
    The move clears the way for Yamana Gold Inc and
Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd to take control of Osisko's
flagship Canadian Malartic gold mine. Agnico was off 3.9 percent
at C$30.05 and Yamana was down 2.5 percent at C$8.54.
     Gold miners in general shadowed bullion prices, which
slipped to a nearly three-week low on sharp outflows from the
world's biggest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, a stronger
U.S. dollar, and technical selling. 
    Among gainers, fertilizer producer Potash Corp 
gained 1.5 percent to C$39.02, offsetting some of the losses in
the materials group.
    Valeant Pharmaceuticals International was up 3.2
percent at C$138.76, helping to lift the healthcare group 0.9
percent.
    Canadian National Railway, Canada's biggest rail
company, was also a heavyweight gainer, adding 0.9 percent to
finish at C$62.98 ahead of its first-quarter results, due on
Tuesday. The overall industrials group was up 0.4 percent.
    ($1=$1.10 Canadian)

 (Reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli; and
Peter Galloway)
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