Canadian stocks fell for a sixth day as Research In Motion Ltd. retreated after an analyst downgrade and gold stocks slipped as concern over the European debt crisis lessened.
BlackBerry maker Research In Motion declined 3.2 percent after Morgan Keegan & Co. reduced its rating on the shares to “market perform” from “outperform.” Kinross Gold Corp., Canada’s third-largest gold producer, declined 1.4 percent as the metal retreated from a five-week high. Sino-Forest Corp., a forest-products producer with operations in China, sank 34 percent after short seller Carson Block said he will release new research on the company.
The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index fell 35.74 points, or 0.3 percent, to 13,282.92 at 4 p.m. in Toronto after rising as much as 0.6 percent. The Canadian benchmark index fell in the last hour of trading as U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, speaking in Atlanta, gave no hint of a new round of stimulus even as economic growth remains slow.
“We’re all holding our breath here and hoping the worst is over,” said Barry Schwartz, a money manager at Baskin Financial Services Inc. in Toronto, which oversees C$400 million ($411 million). “Any way you slice it, the stock market is cheap, so it’s hard for me to imagine stocks are going to go lower.”
The S&P/TSX has dropped 4 percent in the last six days of trading, erasing its gains for the year, as the U.S. reported an increase in unemployment and crude futures slipped. Energy companies make up 27 percent of Canadian stocks by market value, according to Bloomberg data.
Precious-metals producers fell after European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet indicated he endorsed measures to encourage investors to buy new Greek debt.
Kinross declined 1.4 percent to C$15.07. Eldorado Gold Corp., which mines in China and Turkey, dropped for a seventh day, the longest streak since 2006, losing 2.3 percent to C$14.16.
B2Gold Corp., which explores in Latin America, surged 9.1 percent to C$3.61 after reporting drilling results from Uruguay that it called “positive.” The shares touched an intraday record of C$3.67.
Sino-Forest declined 34 percent to a four-year low of C$4.05 after Block, the founder of Muddy Waters Research, said he will release more research on the company “pretty soon.” The new research will concern Sino-Forest’s accounting, its majority stake in Greenheart Group Ltd. and its 2010 purchase of Homix Ltd, Block said on a conference call.
Shares of the Hong Kong- and Mississauga, Ontario-based company have plunged 78 percent since June 1, the day before Block asserted the company overstated its land holdings and production. The company has denied doing so and has hired accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP to conduct its own investigation.
Directory publisher Yellow Media Inc. slumped 4.5 percent to C$3.43 after closing at a record low yesterday. The shares have tumbled 30 percent since May 17, when San Francisco banned the unsolicited distribution of phone books.
Research In Motion declined 3.2 percent to C$36.92 after Tavis McCourt, an analyst at Morgan Keegan & Co., reduced his rating on the shares to “market perform” from “outperform.” In a note to clients, McCourt said Apple Inc.’s new iMessage program threatens the popularity of RIM’s BlackBerry Messenger program.
Saputo Inc. slumped 1.3 percent to C$46.50. Canada’s largest food producer reported fourth-quarter of 55 Canadian cents a share, missing the average of six analyst estimates in a Bloomberg survey by 1.8 percent.