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Toronto's main stock index down moderately on commodities, loonie slips


Canada's main stock index closed down slightly Monday as gold and materials stocks weighed, while U.S. markets were mixed.

Markets on both sides of the border were little moved overall as optimism for earnings season was countered by continued uncertainty on trade and other geopolitical issues, said Craig Fehr, a Canadian markets strategist with Edward Jones in St. Louis.

"Today's movement doesn't quite tell the story of these two rather large forces that are at play in the markets right now."

He said earnings, especially in the U.S., are expected to be quite robust and so will continue to support the market.

"Earnings continues to be one of the key catalysts for equity markets to maintain this bull run, and I don't think that that story is exhausted yet."

The performance of the Canadian economy on the Toronto Stock Exchange will be less clear because the market is so heavily weighted on a few sectors, said Fehr.

"Because the index is so lopsided in terms of sector weightings, it's difficult to get a direct read-through on the health of corporate Canada because TSX profits are going to be so much more influenced by bank earnings and energy company earnings."

On Monday the TSX's S&P/TSX composite index closed down 14.62 points at 16,420.84 as a 0.3 per cent drop in the energy index was countered by a similar rise in financials.

The gold stock index saw the biggest drop, down 1.71 per cent on the day as the August gold contract ended down $5.50 at US$1,225.60.

Barrick Gold, the world's largest gold producer, closed down 0.69 cents or 4.25 per cent at $15.54 after its president stepped down to join AngloGold Ashanti. The company, which doesn't have a CEO position, did not give a specific time frame for appointing a new president.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average ended down 13.83 points at 25,044.29. The S&P 500 index closed up 5.15 points at 2,806.98 and the Nasdaq composite index was up 21.67 points at 7,841.87.

The Canadian dollar averaged 76.01 cents US, down 0.08 of a US cent.  

The September crude contract closed down 37 cents at US$67.89 per barrel and the September natural gas contract was down three cents at US$2.70 per mmBTU. The September copper contract was down one cent at US$2.75 a pound.

Ian Bickis, The Canadian Press

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