Canadian Stocks Fall as Commodity Shares Slump on Gold Prices

Canadian stocks fell, extending a monthly decline, as commodity shares slumped amid lower gold prices and an unexpected rise in U.S. jobless claims.

Novagold Resources Inc. and Alacer Gold Corp. fell at least 2.4 percent as gold prices slid. Financial firms declined with Bank of Nova Scotia falling 0.9 percent and Royal Bank of Canada dropping 0.8 percent. BlackBerry gained 2.5 percent after the smartphone maker’s fourth-quarter earnings beat analysts’ estimates.

The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index (SPTSX) fell 33.55 points, or 0.3 percent, to 12,666.10 at 10:43 a.m. in Toronto. The S&P/TSX has fallen 1.2 percent in March.

First-time jobless claims in the U.S. rose by 16,000 to 357,000 in the week ended March 23, the highest level in more than a month, Labor Department data showed today. The increase halted recent progress in the labor market.

Canada’s economy grew at a faster-than-estimated pace in January on gains by manufacturers, suggesting it may be picking up some speed after ending last year with the slowest growth since the recession. Output increased 0.2 percent, following a 0.2 percent decline in December, Statistics Canada said today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lindsey Rupp in New York at lrupp2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lynn Thomasson at lthomasson@bloomberg.net

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