By Solarina Ho
TORONTO, April 21 Canada's main stock index was
little changed on Monday in quiet Easter holiday trading as
softer bullion prices weighed on gold miners, offsetting an
otherwise mostly positive market.
Markets in Europe, Hong Kong and Australia were closed for
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
was off 5.94 points, or 0.04 percent, at 14,494.56
late morning after trading flat earlier. Seven of the index's 10
main sectors were higher.
"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.
"In this very thin marketplace, you could get some fairly
volatile and dramatic moves just depending on if there's a
motivated buyer or if there's a motivated seller."
Gold prices slipped to a two-and-a-half-week low on sharp
outflows from the world's biggest gold-backed exchange-traded
fund, a stronger U.S. dollar, and technical selling.
The heavily-weighted materials group, home to gold mining
firms, was down 0.8 percent, led by Barrick Gold Corp,
which fell 2.7 percent to C$19.27.
Talks between Barrick and Newmont Mining Corp over a
potential merger have hit a snag, but sources close to the
situation say the companies remain keen to reach a deal and
discussions are likely to resume.
Crude prices were marginally higher and helped the energy
group advance 0.03 percent, but Transcanada Corp capped
the limited gains with a 3.3 percent drop to C$49.62 as several
analysts downgraded the stock.
Canadian National Railway was the most influential
positive mover on the TSX. Canada's biggest rail company was up
0.9 percent at C$63.03 ahead of its first quarter results, due
on Tuesday. The overall industrials group was up 0.2 percent.
The hefty financials group advanced 0.2 percent, helped by
slightly positive moves by three of Canada's biggest banks.
Royal Bank of Canada was up 0.4 percent at C$73.68,
Toronto Dominion Bank was up 0.4 percent at C$51.97,
while Bank of Montreal climbed 0.5 percent to C$76.63,
to round up the four most influential stocks on the index.
(Reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)