* TSX falls 109.20 points, or 0.85 percent, to 12,685.24
* Nine of the index's 10 major sectors decline
* Energy sector falls 1.2 pct, materials down 1.5 pct
By Solarina Ho
TORONTO, Jan 31 Canada's main stock index closed
near a two-week low on Thursday as resource stocks slid along
with commodity prices on investor hesitation ahead of Friday's
key U.S. jobs report.
The index's hefty energy group fell nearly 1.2 percent after
U.S. crude prices softened. Oil producer Canadian Natural
Resources Ltd was the biggest drag on the index,
falling 3.4 percent, to C$30.12.
"The oil differentials between heavy Alberta crude and
global (oil) markets is in the $35-plus area," said John
Tsagarelis, a managing director and senior portfolio manager at
Manulife Asset Management. "So CNQ not being able to get global
prices for their crude is hurting them quite a bit today."
Fast-growing output from vast oil sands of northern Alberta
and limited pipeline capacity to move it to markets in the
United States have weighed on the price of Canadian crude.
Gold prices fell roughly 1 percent, which also weighed on
the miner-heavy Toronto index.
The index's materials group, which includes mining stocks,
fell 1.5 percent. Goldcorp Inc was down 2.5 percent at
C$35.13. Barrick Gold Corp slid 2.2 percent to C$31.76.
"The nature of resources is they respond to commodity prices
both current and anticipated. They tend to be more volatile
reflecting that," said Bob Gorman, chief portfolio strategist at
The market was awaiting U.S. payrolls data on Friday for a
take on the health of the world's biggest economy. Employers are
forecast to have added 160,000 jobs in January after a rise of
155,000 in December.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
closed 109.20 points, or 0.85 percent, lower at
C$12,685.24. The stock hit a session low of 12,682.69, its
weakest level since Jan. 18.
Nine of the index's 10 key sectors on the index were in the
Potash Corp, the world's biggest fertilizer
company, was another heavyweight decliner. It reported a
surprisingly large drop in fourth-quarter profit and gave a
first-quarter outlook below Wall Street's forecast. The stock
declined 1.9 percent to C$42.37.
Research In Motion Ltd shares fell 6.8 percent to
C$12.92, a day after the BlackBerry maker launched its new line
of phones. A late release of the phones in the U.S. market
Financials, the index's weightiest sector, finished 0.7
percent lower. Royal Bank of Canada fell 0.8 percent to
C$62.12, and Bank of Nova Scotia lost 0.4 percent to