February 27, 2017 / 11:03 PM / 5 months ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX posts lowest close in 3 weeks as gold shares fall

3 Min Read

(Adds portfolio manager quotes, background, details; updates prices)

* TSX closes down 69.96 points, or 0.45 percent, at 15,463.51

* Index posts its lowest close since Feb. 6.

* Four of TSX's 10 main groups end lower

By Fergal Smith

TORONTO, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index posted its lowest close in three weeks on Monday, falling for the fourth straight session as gold stocks declined sharply, while the heavyweight financial services group also lost ground.

The losing streak for the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index follows a record high last week at 15,943.09. The index has rallied 5.5 percent since the U.S. presidential election in November, helped by prospects of U.S. economic stimulus.

"I am getting a sense of fatigue in the market place after that strong run up, particularly for a risk-on play like Canada," said Candice Bangsund, vice president and portfolio manager at Fiera Capital Corporation.

Three-quarters of the weight of the TSX is made up of the financial, industrial, energy and materials groups, many of whose shares are seen as sensitive to the economic outlook, while some defensive sectors such as healthcare have a low weighting.

Investors are waiting for U.S. President Donald Trump to outline plans for tax cuts, infrastructure spending, levies on imports and foreign policy in a speech on Tuesday night.

"They are waiting for more details and it feels like they are getting a bit more impatient," Bangsund said.

The TSX closed down 69.96 points, or 0.45 percent, at 15,463.51, its lowest close since Feb. 6.

The index fell sharply at the close due to trades related to index rebalancing after the completion by Enbridge Inc of its acquisition of Spectra Energy Corp.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 3.6 percent, with Barrick Gold Corp falling 3.4 percent to C$24.73 and Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd tumbling 6.6 percent to C$55.33.

Gold futures fell 0.4 percent to $1,251.7 an ounce.

Four of the index's 10 main groups ended lower, including a 0.4 percent drop for financials.

Bank of Nova Scotia fell 1.4 percent to C$79.25 and Bank of Montreal declined 1.4 percent to C$98.58. Both banks are due to report quarterly earnings on Tuesday.

The energy group climbed 0.4 percent, with Enbridge ending up nearly 4 percent at C$56.35, while oil prices ended little changed as the prospect for U.S. crude production to continue growing offset reports of high compliance with the OPEC production cut agreement.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc advanced 3.5 percent to C$21.94 after the company said it would expand by 40 percent the sales force for its Salix gastrointestinal unit. (Additional reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Nick Zieminski and James Dalgleish)

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