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Canadian Stocks Decline as Energy, Materials Companies Slump

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Jan. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian stocks fell, after the best weekly gain since November for the benchmark equities index, as raw-materials and energy shares contributed most to losses.

Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. dropped 1.2 percent. Barrick Gold Corp., the world’s largest gold producer, fell 1.7 percent as the gold price declined for a third straight session. Royal Bank of Canada and Toronto-Dominion Bank lost at least 0.3 percent. Air Canada gained 4.5 percent after reporting a record level for the average number of seats filled in its planes for 2012. Imax Corp. gained 5.4 percent after a JPMorgan Chase & Co. analyst raised box-office and earnings estimates for the specialty theater company.

The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index fell 41.26 points, or 0.3 percent, to 12,499.55 in Toronto. The benchmark gauge has risen 0.5 percent this year. It jumped 1.8 percent last week, the most since Nov. 23.

“I think people are just a little cautious ahead of earnings,” said Ian Nakamoto, director of research with MacDougall MacDougall & MacTier Inc. in Toronto, which manages about $4 billion. Alcoa Inc. will unofficially start the U.S. earnings reporting season after the market closes tomorrow. “We’re pausing here for earnings, which I think will be decent. As they start to weigh-in better than expected, markets will start to move back up.”

Canadian Natural Resources slipped 1.2 percent to C$29.78 and Suncor Energy Inc., the nation’s largest oil producer, lost 1 percent to C$33.23 as gauges of raw-materials and energy companies in the S&P/TSX decreased at least 0.5 percent. Eight of 10 industries retreated, with trading volume 10 percent lower than the 30-day average.

Banks Slip

Royal Bank, Canada’s largest lender, fell 0.4 percent to C$60.81 and TD Bank declined 0.3 percent to C$82.56. Central bank chiefs meeting in Basel, Switzerland, over the weekend gave lenders a four-year extension to meet international liquidity requirements and expanded the list of approved assets for use in a financial crisis.

Inmet Mining Corp., subject of a hostile C$5.2 billion bid from First Quantum Minerals Ltd., lost 2.1 percent to C$72.50. Alex Terentiew, analyst with Raymond James Financial Inc., downgraded the stock to market perform from outperform, while maintaining a C$77 price estimate. First Quantum is unlikely to raise its offer substantially and there is uncertainty regarding whether another bidder will emerge, Terentiew said in a note to clients today.

Gold Prices

Barrick decreased 1.7 percent to C$33.57 and Colossus Minerals Inc. fell 1.5 percent to C$4.72. Gold for February delivery declined 0.2 percent to settle at $1,646.30 an ounce in New York. The price has retreated for six weeks, the longest run since May 2004.

Air Canada, the nation’s biggest carrier, gained 4.5 percent to C$1.86. The company, based in Montreal, said it posted a record-high load factor of 82.7 percent in 2012, compared with 81.6 percent a year ago, due to increases in traffic to the U.S. and across the Atlantic Ocean.

Imax rose 5.4 percent to C$23.75, the biggest gain since 0ct. 11. Townsend Buckles, analyst with JPMorgan, raised his estimate for the company’s fourth-quarter box office take to $146 million from $130 million and boosted his adjusted earnings estimate to 18 cents a share from 17 cents.

Nautilus Minerals Ltd., which explores for gold and copper on the ocean floor near Papua New Guinea, jumped 25 percent to 58 Canadian cents before trading was halted just before 3 p.m. in Toronto.

According to an unconfirmed statement via Accesswire, Michael Bailey, a trader in Ottawa, has made a hostile bid for the company for 97 Canadian cents a share for a total of C$238 million.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eric Lam in Toronto at elam87@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lynn Thomasson at lthomasson@bloomberg.net

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