Canadian stocks fell a second day, posting the first weekly decline since January, as the nation’s lenders and industrial companies fell and investors watched developments in the conflict in Ukraine.
Royal Bank of Canada and Bank of Montreal dropped more than 0.6 percent for a second day of declines. Novagold Resources Inc. and OceanaGold Corp. rallied at least 4.3 percent as gold rose to a six-month high. Silver Standard Resources Inc. climbed 2.3 percent as silver prices jumped. Quebecor Inc. increased 2 percent after analysts with Desjardins Securities raised their rating for the stock.
The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index fell 17.48 points, or 0.1 percent, to 14,227.66 at 4 p.m. in Toronto. The index sank 0.5 percent this week, its first drop in the past six periods.
“Clearly, with the current political environment people are looking for protection in gold,” said Brian Huen, managing partner at Red Sky Capital Management Ltd. in Toronto. He helps manage about C$225 million ($203 million). “People will want to protect their portfolios” before the weekend vote in Crimea, he said.
Global equities markets slumped on concern the conflict in Ukraine is escalating, with the MSCI World Index slipping 0.6 percent to a one-month low. The U.S. and the European Union are threatening sanctions against Russia if it doesn’t back down from annexing Crimea, which is holding a referendum in two days to join Ukraine’s former Soviet-era master.
Four of the 10 main industries in the S&P/TSX declined on trading volume 18 percent lower compared with the 30-day average.
Royal Bank, Canada’s second-largest lender, sank 0.9 percent to C$71.17, a one-month low, and Bank of Montreal retreated 0.6 percent to C$71.98 to pace declines in the S&P/TSX Banks Index.
Canada’s household debt ratio fell to 163.97 in the fourth quarter from a revised record of 164.20 in the prior three-month period as families slowed the pace of borrowing.
OceanaGold climbed 4.3 percent to C$2.94 and Novagold Resources gained 5.4 percent to C$5.05 as raw-materials stocks increased 0.4 percent as a group. Gold jumped 0.5 percent to settle at $1,379 an ounce in New York.
Fortuna Silver Mines Inc. rose 3.4 percent to C$5.23 and Silver Standard Resources increased 2.3 percent to C$12.81 as the price of silver jumped 1 percent to $21.413 an ounce in New York.
Teck Resources Ltd., Canada’s largest diversified miner, increased 0.7 percent to C$22.86. Copper for delivery in May added 0.9 percent to $2.9505 a pound in New York to pare a weekly decline to 4.3 percent, the biggest since April. Copper slumped this week as weaker-than-expected economic data in China fueled concern growth was slowing in the world’s second-largest economy and biggest consumer of metals.
Bankers Petroleum Ltd. rose 2.1 percent to C$5.43 and Bellatrix Exploration Ltd. jumped 1.4 percent to C$8.69 as crude rose for a second day in New York.
Quebecor, the media company that acquired wireless spectrum in the most recent government auction, increased 2 percent to C$25.29. Maher Yaghi, analyst at Desjardins Securities, raised his rating for the stock to buy from hold due to the recent pullback in the share price.
The stock fell 2.8 percent in the past three days before today after former vice-chairman Pierre Karl Peladeau resigned from the board to run in the Quebec provincial election. Quebecor also reported fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of 55 Canadian cents, ahead of analysts’ forecasts for 52 cents.