Canadian stocks fell for a fifth day after material and energy producers declined as Greece’s political leaders struggled to form a government, fueling concern that austerity efforts in Europe will be derailed.
Goldcorp Inc., the world’s second-biggest producer of the metal, decreased 4.3 percent, while larger rival Barrick Gold Corp. lost 2.6 percent, as the U.S. dollar strengthened. Teck Resources Ltd., the country’s biggest base metals producer, sank 2.4 percent. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., the country’s third-largest energy company, declined 3 percent.
The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index decreased 155.81 points, or 1.3 percent, to 11,704.85 in Toronto, its lowest closing level since Dec. 19.
“The uncertainty in Europe has reared its ugly head,” David Cockfield, a managing director at Northland Wealth Management in Toronto, said in a telephone interview. The firm oversees about C$200 million ($200 million). “It will continue to upset markets until we get a clearer picture of just what the European Union plans to do.”
Canadian stocks retreated last week after two straight weekly gains as Spain entered a recession, a U.S. industry report showed employers added fewer jobs than forecast last month and commodity prices dropped. Energy and mining shares account for 44 percent of Canadian stocks by market value, compared with 20 percent in the U.S.
Materials companies fell today with metals as gold tumbled below $1,600 an ounce for the first time since January after Alexis Tsipras, the head of the Greek Syriza party, received a mandate to form a government, boosting worries over austerity. Tsipras has said he will seek to form a coalition with other parties that favor reversing a 130 billion-euro bailout.
The U.S. dollar gained, lowering demand for gold as an alternative for investors and sending the S&P/TSX Gold Index to its lowest level since May 2009.
Barrick Gold lost 2.6 percent to C$36.71. Goldcorp decreased 4.3 percent to C$34.40. Eldorado Gold Corp., a Vancouver-based mining company, declined 8.5 percent to C$11.66.
Jaguar Mining Inc., which explores for gold in Brazil, plummeted 36 percent, the most since January 2003, to C$1.42 after saying China’s Shandong Gold Group Co. won’t proceed with a takeover of the company.
Copper fell the most in almost five weeks on concern over the elections in Greece and France. Teck Resources sank 2.4 percent to C$33.53. Ivanhoe Mines Ltd., Rio Tinto Group’s partner in the Oyu Tolgoi Mongolian gold and copper mine, dropped 4.4 percent to C$9.90.
Oil fell for a fifth day as Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said prices are too high and the euro weakened against the dollar.
Canadian Natural Resources, the country’s third-biggest energy company, declined 3 percent to C$30.69. Suncor Energy Inc., Canada’s largest oil and gas producer, fell 1.5 percent to C$29.77. Nexen Inc. dropped 2.6 percent to C$16.82.
Avalon Rare Metals Inc., a company developing a rare-earth deposit in Canada’s Northwest Territory, plunged 23 percent to C$1.67, its lowest price since July 2009, after delaying the target date for its first production.
Second Wave Petroleum Inc., the Calgary-based oil and natural-gas producer that announced in February it was seeking a buyer, dropped 31 percent, its biggest drop since December 2006, to C$1.84 after ending the search without a satisfactory offer.