Canadian stocks fell for the first time in four days as copper producers declined on concern that escalating unrest in Libya will boost oil prices and slow economic growth.
Teck Resources Ltd., Canada’s biggest base-metals producer, dropped 2.9 percent. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. slipped 3.2 percent as energy stocks retreated from a 31-month high. Uranium producer Cameco Corp. slumped 4 percent, as the nuclear fuel declined. Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc., the world’s biggest fertilizer company, slumped 3.2 percent amid falling wheat, corn and soybean futures.
The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index declined 160.42 points, or 1.1 percent, to settle at 14,092.35 in Toronto, erasing all of the three-day rally through March. 4.
“There is continued uncertainty about what is going to happen in Libya,” said Todd Johnson, a money manager at BCV Asset Management in Winnipeg, Manitoba, which oversees C$255 million ($262 million). “I doubt that Libya is the last country to go through some turmoil. Oil prices can be very volatile.”
The Canadian benchmark equity index added 6 percent from the beginning of the year through March 4 as oil soared 14 percent on concern that unrest in the Middle East and northern Africa will restrict supply. Energy shares account for about 28 percent of Canadian stocks by market value, according to Bloomberg data.
Crude climbed to a 29-month high after fighting between Libyan rebels and troops loyal to Muammar Qaddafi intensified. Hedge funds raised purchases of futures to a record for a second week on speculation unrest will cut output further. Citigroup Inc. increased its Brent oil price estimate, saying the threat of more disruptions supports a “fear premium.”
Crude oil for April delivery increased $1.02 to $105.44 a barrel in New York, the highest settlement since September 2008.
Teck Resources dropped 2.9 percent to C$52.53 after copper slid 3.5 percent in New York on concern slower economic growth will curb demand for industrial metals. First Quantum Minerals Ltd. declined 3.3 percent to C$119.85.
Equinox Minerals Ltd. fell 4.5 percent to C$5.50, the lowest price since Nov. 17. Lundin Mining Corp. postponed a special meeting of shareholders to allow them time to review an unsolicited C$4.8 billion takeover offer by Equinox.
Lundin Mining Corp., which had agreed to sell to Inmet Mining Corp. for C$4.2 billion, dropped 4.9 percent to C$7.51.
An index of energy shares in the S&P/TSX fell 1.5 percent after closing at the highest level since August 2008 on March 4. Suncor Energy Inc., the country’s biggest energy producer, dropped 1.8 percent to C$45.57. Canadian Natural fell 3.2 percent to C$48.10.
Uranium prices dropped $2.75 from the Feb. 28 exchange value to $66.75 a pound, according to TradeTech LLC. The spot price for uranium was beginning to rebound after falling in February when a seller unexpectedly entered the market offering more than 800,000 pounds, TradeTech said.
Uranium One Inc. dropped 4 percent to C$6.19, the biggest drop since Feb. 4. Cameco Corp. declined 4 percent to C$37.89, the biggest drop since Jan. 20.
Potash Corp. fell 3.2 percent to C$57.49 after corn futures fell 1.4 percent, soybeans dropped 1.3 percent and wheat slipped 3.8 percent.