Toronto stocks moved off their lows of the day but still closed lower for a second straight session. Lower metal prices led to weakness in the gold, materials and mining sectors.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index lost 49.59 or 0.54% to finish at 9,016.17. The index had reached its highest level in nearly three months last week.
Gold stocks dropped 3.2% while materials stocks declined 2.9%. Iamgold (IMG.TO) fell 9.1%, New Gold (NGD.TO) dropped 8.75% and Seagold (SEA.TO) lost 5.7%.
Royal Gold (RGL.TO) has dropped 7% after the company said it agreed with a subsidiary of Teck Cominco Ltd. (TCK-B.TO) to acquire the gold production at the Andacollo mine located in Chile. The purchase price consists of $100 million in cash and about 4.5 million shares of common stock. Separately, Royal Gold announced that it intends to offer 6.5 million shares of its common stock to fund the transaction.
Pan American Silver Corp. (PAA.TO) lost 3.7% after the company said Friday night that Union workers at its Morococha mine in Peru initiated a strike after the company and Union representatives failed to reach an agreement with respect to an increase in base pay and benefits.
Mining stocks dropped 3% as FNX Mining (FNX.TO) fell 4.6%, First-Quantum (FM.TO) has lost 4.1% and Inmet (IMN.TO) slipped 3%.
In other corporate news, Mega Brands (MB.TO) plunged 16% after the toymaker reported a net loss of US$323.3 million or US$8.83 per share for the fourth quarter, compared to a net loss of US$66.2 million or US$1.81 per share in the year-ago quarter.
Akela Pharma (AKL.TO) plummeted 11.75% after the company reported a net loss for the fourth quarter of US$13.6 million or US$0.63 per share, in comparison a loss of US$8.9 million or US$0.75 per share in the same quarter a year-ago.
WestJet (WJA.TO) has lost 3.25% after the company announced its March load factor was 81.9%, down from 86.6% in the prior year. Revenue passenger miles increased 0.6% year over year to 1.25 billion from 1.24 billion a year ago. Capacity, measured in available seat miles, grew 6.3% to 1.52 billion from 1.43 billion in the same period last year.
On the economic front, Statistics Canada reported Canadian buildings permits dropped 15.9% in February. A much more modest decline of 2.8% was predicted by economists, compared to a 6% slide in January.
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