* TSX falls 16.97 points, or 0.13 percent, to 13,487.51
* Seven of the 10 main index sectors decline
* Valeant is index's biggest negative influence
* TMX Group climbs after quarterly report
By John Tilak
TORONTO, Feb 5 Canada's main stock index fell on
Wednesday, reacting to a U.S. report that showed sluggish hiring
in the private sector and to continuing fears about emerging
markets, but rising gold mining shares limited the decline.
Investors rushed to snap up bullion, which is seen as a safe
haven in times of uncertainty, lifting both the price of the
commodity and gold-mining shares. The rise in gold miners offset
some of the market's broader weakness.
Data released by ADP showed that hiring by U.S. private
employers in January was the weakest since August, with cold
weather having an impact.
Worries about growth and stability in emerging markets,
including concerns about the Chinese economy, remained a drag on
sentiment, extending the choppy ride investors have been
The Toronto Stock Exchange's benchmark index, which gained
9.6 percent last year, has lost about 500 points in the last two
"The recent volatility and weakness in equity markets
reflect investor nervousness after having a strong 2013," said
Stan Wong, director of wealth management and portfolio manager
at Scotia McLeod. "The emerging market problems have been more
of a convenient excuse for investors to sell off equities."
"The economic recovery in the United States and Europe is
going to be uneven and bumpy," he added. "But if you look out a
year from now, fundamentals will be better."
The Toronto market's S&P/TSX composite index was
down 16.97 points, or 0.13 percent, at 13,487.51. Its losses so
far this year have not been as severe as those of its U.S.
"Because of the fact that the Canadian market has a gold
component, the TSX is not as oversold as U.S. counterpart
indexes," Wong said. "People have been looking for safe havens
in the gold market, rightly or wrongly, but that has helped the
TSX hold up a little bit better."
Seven of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the red on
Gold-mining shares jumped nearly 1 percent. Barrick Gold
Corp climbed 0.4 percent to C$21.30 and Goldcorp Inc
advanced 1.8 percent to C$28.31.
Energy shares added 0.3 percent. Suncor Energy Inc
rose 0.7 percent to C$35.27, and Encana Corp jumped 2.1
percent to C$20.86.
But the telecoms group gave back 1 percent. Telus Corp
dropped 1.3 percent to C$37.22, and Rogers Communications
shed 1.2 percent to C$44.93.
Among healthcare stocks, Valeant Pharmaceuticals
International Inc fell 1.4 percent to C$148.08 and had
the biggest negative influence on the index.
In corporate news, TMX Group Ltd, owner of the
Toronto Stock Exchange, reported a fourth-quarter profit that
topped market expectations. Its shares climbed 0.3 percent to
Intact Financial Corp reported a
larger-than-expected drop in fourth-quarter profit as a winter
ice storm hurt underwriting results. The stock was down 1.4
percent at C$66.60.