Canada Stocks Fall Most in Three Weeks as Mining Shares Drop

Canadian stocks fell the most in three weeks as commodities slumped after data showed business confidence slipping in Germany and China.

B2Gold Corp. and Novagold Resources Inc. retreated at least 7.1 percent. Fortuna Silver Mines Inc. plunged 9 percent. Advantage Oil & Gas Ltd. fell 3.9 percent as crude dropped for the fifth time in six days.

The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index tumbled 70.06 points, or 0.6 percent, to 12,313.54 in Toronto, its biggest percentage loss since Aug. 30.

“Europe is a major trading partner with China so the slowdown in Europe has definite knock-on effects in China as well,” said Robert McWhirter, portfolio manager with Selective Asset Management Inc. in Toronto. His firm manages about C$60 million ($61.2 million). “People are going back and forth. Things are patched up in the short-term, but long-term the problems in Europe are still there.”

China, a major consumer of commodities including base metals such as copper, has shifted its focus toward health care and social issues and away from infrastructure building, McWhirter said.

The benchmark Canadian gauge joined a slump in global markets with mining and energy stocks leading declines on the S&P/TSX.

Business Confidence

German business confidence unexpectedly fell to the lowest in more than two and a half years in September as the sovereign debt crisis clouded the economic outlook. China’s manufacturers and retailers are less optimistic about sales than they were three months ago and more companies are cutting jobs, according to the China Beige Book, a survey modeled on the U.S. Federal Reserve’s Beige Book.

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index, which tracks a basket of commodities including oil, metals and grains, declined 1 percent to 657.68. The index fell 4.4 percent last week, its first weekly drop in eight weeks.

Advantage Oil & Gas dropped 3.9 percent to C$3.70. Crescent Point Energy Corp. tumbled 2.1 percent to C$44.76 and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. retreated 2.4 percent to C$31.48 as crude for November delivery declined 1 percent to settle at $91.93 a barrel in New York.

B2Gold sank 8.8 percent to C$3.86 and Novagold Resources slipped 7.1 percent to C$5.66. Goldcorp Inc. retreated 3.7 percent to C$44.08 and Franco-Nevada Corp. sank 5.9 percent to C$55.76.

Gold tumbled the most in more than seven weeks, with futures for December delivery dropping 0.8 percent to settle at $1,764.60 an ounce in New York.

Silver Miners

Fortuna Silver Mines plunged 9 percent to C$5.18 and Tahoe Resources Inc. fell 4.4 percent to C$20.34 after Dale Mah, analyst with Dundee Securities Corp., cut his ratings on both silver miners to neutral from buy.

“A short-term correction is a reality,” he said in a research note.

Canaccord Financial Inc. slipped 5.6 percent to C$5.76 after the investment firm said it will shutter 16 branches of its wealth management unit, half the total. Last month, the Toronto-based firm said it would cut 60 jobs after posting a larger-than-estimated first-quarter loss.

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