March 11 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian stocks fell the most in two weeks as base-metal and energy companies declined after copper slumped to the lowest in three years on concerns that economic growth in China is slowing.
Teck Resources Ltd., Canada’s largest diversified miner, sank 3.5 percent as copper plunged to the lowest since 2010. Husky Energy Inc. lost 2.4 percent to pace declines among energy stocks. WestJet Airlines Ltd. slipped after analysts at RBC Capital Markets lowered their rating for the stock on concerns about the rate of fare increases. Torex Gold Resources Inc. and Centerra Gold Inc. climbed at least 1.4 percent as gold rallied.
The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index fell 34.83 points, or 0.2 percent, to 14,267.23 at 4 p.m. in Toronto. The index has risen about 4.7 percent this year.
“Stocks have been strong so we’re pausing a little bit here,” said Ian Nakamoto, director of research with MacDougall MacDougall & MacTier Inc. in Toronto. The firm manages C$4.7 billion ($4.2 billion). “It’s going to be more company-specific news that will move markets looking ahead. The situation in Ukraine, they will come back to the forefront if there is a bigger response from military forces. For now it’s psychological.”
Gold for April delivery climbed 0.4 percent to settle at $1,346.70 an ounce in New York as the standoff between Russia and Ukraine spurred demand for a haven. Germany told Russia it may face more sanctions if it doesn’t switch course in Crimea by next week and Ukraine’s deposed president warned of a possible civil war.
Torex Gold increased 2.5 percent to C$1.23 and Centerra Gold rose 1.4 percent to C$5.60 as gold shares gained 0.3 percent as a group. Trading volume for S&P/TSX companies was 15 percent lower than the 30-day average.
Teck Resources slumped 3.5 percent to C$22.97, the lowest since July, and First Quantum Minerals Ltd. retreated 2.6 percent to C$19.07 as copper plunged 2.6 percent to $2.952 a pound in New York. Copper prices have tumbled 13 percent this year on signs of slowing economic growth in China, the world’s biggest metals consumer.
China had its first onshore bond default after Shanghai Chaori Solar Energy Science & Technology Co., a solar-panel maker, last week missed an interest payment.
Toronto-Dominion Bank, the nation’s largest lender, advanced 1.1 percent to C$51.54, extending a record high. Toronto-Dominion has climbed 2.5 percent in the past three days. Royal Bank of Canada, the second-largest lender, gained 0.9 percent to C$72.33 as the S&P/TSX Banks Index rallied 1.4 percent to a record high.
BlackBerry Ltd. retreated 3.5 percent to C$10.33 for a fifth day of losses, the longest streak since July. Shares of the smartphone maker have plunged 10 percent during that period.
Husky Energy declined 2.4 percent to C$33.06 and Ithaca Energy Inc. lost 1.4 percent to C$2.85. Crude fell to a one-month low, dropping 1.1 percent to $100.03 a barrel in New York. Stockpiles of crude oil are forecast to have gained 2 million barrels last week, according to a Bloomberg survey before an Energy Information Administration report tomorrow.
WestJet decreased 0.6 percent to C$25.52. Walter Spracklin, analyst at RBC Capital Markets, lowered his rating for the airline to sector perform, the equivalent of a hold, due to data pointing toward lower fare increases.
“Pricing gains have been more difficult to achieve on the domestic and vacation segments,” Spracklin said in a note to clients. Spracklin also lowered his price target to C$28 from C$34.
WestJet has 11 buy ratings from analysts and five holds, with a consensus 12-month target price of C$30.33, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
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