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Canadian Gold Stocks Fall, Alimentation Couche-Tard Soars

April 18 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian stocks fell for the third time in four days as gold producers declined after a stronger U.S. dollar curbed demand for the precious metal as an alternative asset.

Goldcorp Inc., the world’s second-biggest bullion miner, dropped 2 percent. Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd., which operates in Canada, Mexico and Finland, slipped 1.1 percent. Royal Bank of Canada, the country’s biggest lender, gained 0.4 percent. Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., the largest independent convenience store operator in North America, surged 15 percent after agreeing to buy Statoil Fuel & Retail ASA, limiting the market loss.

The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index decreased 8.05 points, 0.1 percent, to 12,128.89 in Toronto.

“Basic materials stocks had a bit of a bounce yesterday but they’re giving some of that back, especially in gold,” Bob Decker, a money manager at Aurion Capital in Toronto, said in a telephone interview. The firm oversees about C$5.5 billion ($5.6 billion). “At the same time, retail stocks are stronger today. Financials are getting a little bit of a bid as well, as fund flows are looking for dividend-paying stocks.”

The S&P/TSX had its seventh straight weekly decline in the five days ending April 13, its longest losing streak since 2008, as weaker-than-forecast U.S. jobs numbers and reports of slowing growth in China raised concern that demand may slip for Canadian commodities. The U.S. is the world’s biggest consumer of oil, while China is the number one user of copper.

Materials stocks in the S&P/TSX declined, driven by gold, as futures fell for the third time in four days. Goldcorp dropped 2 percent to C$40.51. Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd. slipped 1.1 percent to C$33.29.

Oil Declines

Energy shares fell on declining oil prices after the U.S. reported a larger-than-forecast supply gain. Suncor Energy Inc., Canada’s largest oil and gas producer, fell 0.5 percent to C$31.24. Penn West Petroleum Ltd., a western Canadian oil and gas company, dropped 1.5 percent to C$16.77.

Financial shares rose after the Bank of Canada said that economic growth will be stronger this year than it earlier forecast, as diminished risks from Europe and the U.S. boost consumer and business confidence.

Royal Bank of Canada gained 0.4 percent to C$56.96. Toronto-Dominion bank, Canada’s second-largest lender, climbed 0.4 percent to C$83.90.

Alimentation Couche-Tard drove retail stocks higher as its shares soared 15 percent to C$39.60. The increase was the convenience store chain’s biggest in more than eight years as it agreed to buy Statoil Fuel & Retail ASA, Scandinavia’s biggest gas-station operator, for 15.9 billion kroner ($2.8 billion) to push into European markets.

SXC Health Solutions Corp. advanced 11 percent to C$88.63 after agreeing to buy Catalyst Health Solutions Inc. in a cash and stock transaction valued at $4.4 billion to stay competitive as larger pharmacy benefits managers join forces.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joseph Ciolli in New York at jciolli@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Baker at nbaker7@bloomberg.net

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