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Canadian Stocks Extend Skid as Europe Concerns Hit Banks

Canadian stocks fell for a sixth day after financials and energy producers declined amid concern Europe’s debt crisis may worsen, potentially curbing demand, following an inconclusive Greek election.

Royal Bank of Canada, the nation’s biggest lender, slipped 1.3 percent. Toronto-Dominion Bank, Canada’s second-largest lender, dropped 1 percent. Barrick Gold Corp., the world’s largest producer of the metal, increased 2.6 percent. Avion Gold Corp., which explores for the metal in Mali, plunged 31 percent after suspending a project in the country.

The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index fell 29.73 points, or 0.3 percent, to 11,675.01 in Toronto.

“Europe continues to dominate the headlines,” Brian Huen, a managing partner at Red Sky Capital Management Ltd. in Toronto, said in a telephone interview. The firm oversees about C$55 million ($55 million). “The question is whether the global growth forecasts that people have are in jeopardy again because of what’s going on there.”

Canadian stocks are extending their slump following a decline last week, when 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.

Financial companies fell as Greece’s political impasse intensified concern that the European sovereign-debt crisis is worsening. Spanish default risk climbed to a record, while Alexis Tsipras of Greece’s Syriza party squared off with political leaders before talks on forming a coalition. Greece has 436 million euros (C$566 million) of debt coming due on May 15.

Banks Decline

Royal Bank of Canada decreased 1.3 percent to C$53.37. Toronto-Dominion Bank slipped 1 percent to C$79.61. Bank of Nova Scotia, the country’s third-largest lender, fell 0.9 percent to C$52.56.

Materials companies gained today as gold rebounded from its lowest intraday level since Jan. 3. The metal reached $1,578.50 an ounce on the Comex in New York before recovering to settle at $1,594.20.

Barrick Gold increased 2.6 percent to C$37.65. Goldcorp Inc., the second-largest producer of the metal, climbed 3.5 percent to C$35.60. Eldorado Gold Corp., a Vancouver-based mining company, rose 2.1 percent to C$11.91.

Avion Gold plunged 31 percent to 59 Canadian cents after saying in a statement that it temporarily suspended its Tabakoto mill expansion project because of disruption associated with the military coup in Mali.

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