July 24 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian stocks fell the most in a month as a report showing a manufacturing slowdown in China spurred losses in commodity shares, while Loblaw Cos. rose on better-than-estimated earnings.
Shares in materials producers on the Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index declined 3 percent for the biggest slump in four weeks. Torex Gold Resources Inc. and Barrick Gold Corp. slid more than 5.4 percent. Suncor Energy Inc. lost 1.1 percent as crude tumbled the most in more than a month. Loblaw, Canada’s largest grocer, gained 3.2 percent as profit climbed on higher food and clothing sales.
The equity gauge fell 73.08 points, or 0.6 percent, to 12,672.30 at 4 p.m. in Toronto. The index declined two straight days for the first time in a month, paring its gain for the year to 1.9 percent. Trading volume was 5.8 percent higher than the 30-day average at this time of the day.
“We’ve had a pretty good run here, so the market is taking a bit of a pause as we need to see more earnings reports,” said David Cockfield, a fund manager with Northland Wealth Management in Toronto. The firm manages C$225 million ($219 million). “Metal producers, in general, are looking at less robust markets for the foreseeable future.”
China’s manufacturing weakened more than estimated in July, according to a preliminary purchasing managers’ index reading of 47.7 released by HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics. Levels below 50 indicate contraction.
Torex Gold plunged 10 percent to C$1.38 and Barrick Gold, the world’s largest producer of gold, lost 5.4 percent to C$17.67. Gold for December delivery sank 1.1 percent, the most in two weeks.
Teck Resources, Canada’s largest diversified miner, fell 2.7 percent to C$23.69. First Quantum Minerals Ltd., a copper producer, retreated 1.4 percent to C$17.13. HudBay Minerals Inc., which produces zinc, copper, gold and silver, lost 6 percent to C$7.25. Copper slipped 0.6 percent in New York, snapping the longest rally in nine months.
Cenovus Energy Inc. sank 5.5 percent to C$30.49 as second-quarter profit slumped 55 percent on higher currency losses and lower hedging gains. More than 50 Canadian companies in the S&P/TSX are scheduled to report earnings over the next week.
Suncor lost 1.1 percent to C$32.85 and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. retreated 1.2 percent to C$33.80. Energy stocks fell 1.3 percent as a group after crude for September delivery dropped 1.7 percent to settle at $105.39 a barrel in New York, the biggest decline since June 21.
Loblaw gained 3.2 percent to C$49.47. The grocer reported second-quarter adjusted profit of 67 Canadian cents a share, ahead of analysts’ estimates of 59 cents, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The company, which agreed to buy Shoppers Drug Mart Corp. this month, said it expects “mid-single” digit operating income growth for 2013.
Rogers Communications Inc. rose 1.8 percent to C$41.95. Canada’s biggest wireless carrier signed up 98,000 customers to long-term contracts in the second quarter, compared with the 74,000 average estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
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