Sept. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian stocks fell, after touching the highest level in almost six months yesterday, as materials producers slumped amid signs of easing tensions over Syria.
Argonaut Gold Inc. sank 8 percent as the price of the precious metal plunged the most in two months in New York. Fortuna Silver Mines Inc. sank 7.3 percent to pace losses among silver producers. BlackBerry Ltd. dropped 5.5 percent after the Globe & Mail reported big pension funds have “cooled” on a joining a possible bid for the company.
The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index fell 30.16 points, or 0.2 percent, to 12,824.48 at 4 p.m. in Toronto. The benchmark Canadian equity gauge rose 0.3 percent yesterday to the highest since March 12. Trading was 8.4 percent above the 30-day average.
“The Syrian situation seems to be at the moment working its way out with possibly a negotiated settlement,” said Paul Gardner, a fund manager with Avenue Investment Management in Toronto. The firm oversees about C$300 million ($288 million). “You have a stock market rally in the U.S. In Canada the opposite occurs because we’re so heavily weighted towards gold, resources and oil, and that of course has come off due to the crisis settling down.”
U.S. stocks advanced today after France said it will submit a Russian-backed plan to confiscate Syria’s chemical weapons to the United Nations, as Interfax reported that Bashar al-Assad’s government accepted the proposal. U.S. President Barack Obama will outline his intentions on Syria in a speech at 9 p.m. tonight in Washington.
In Canada, five of 10 main groups in the S&P/TSX declined. Materials stocks plunged 1.9 percent, the most in two weeks. An index of gold producers slumped 5.2 percent for the biggest decline in a month as gold futures tumbled 1.6 percent to settle at $1,364. Silver also retreated.
Goldcorp Inc. fell 6.7 percent to C$28.16 and Torex Gold Resources Inc. slumped 7.6 percent to C$1.45 to pace declines among producers of the precious metal. Argonaut dropped 8 percent to C$6.20. Fortuna Silver dropped 7.3 percent to C$4.09.
BlackBerry lost 5.5 percent to C$11.30, dragging technology stocks lower by 1 percent. The shares climbed 5.9 percent yesterday after a Sunday Times report said Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. is close to making a bid. A separate report today in the Globe & Mail, citing people familiar with the situation, said none of the big Canadian pension funds approached by Fairfax Financial have taken to the proposal.
BlackBerry said today it has cut its sales force and moved some staff to the U.S. to bolster sluggish sales of its new devices. The company is struggling with competition from Apple Inc.’s iOS, Google Inc.’s Android and Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Phone, which is now outselling BlackBerry. Apple introduced two new versions of its iPhone today, including a low-cost model.
Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. advanced 3.4 percent to $34.02. OAO Uralkali, the Russian potash producer that exited a venture controlling almost half of global exports of the crop nutrient in July, said prices are unlikely to fall below $300 a metric ton as Asian and Brazilian demand will support sales.
--Editor: Jeremy Herron