TORONTO (Reuters) - Shares of North America’s gold miners slid on Friday as the spot price of bullion dropped more than 4 percent, falling below $1,500 an ounce to its lowest point since July 2011.
Gold touched a low of $1,493.35, more than 20 percent below its record peak in September 2011, weighed down in part by a draft plan for Cyprus to sell bullion, and outflows from exchange-traded gold funds.
“Gold is getting hit hard, and gold miners are getting hit hard too,” said Salman Partners analyst David West.
The S&P/TSX Global Gold index.SPTTGD was down 4.4 percent by midday. The index is down more than 25 percent since the end of last year and the sector is the worst year-to-date performer on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Barrick Gold (ABX.TO), the world’s top gold producer, fell 4.7 percent to C$23.83 in Toronto, and Goldcorp IncG.TO dropped 3.6 percent to C$30.37.
Gold miners’ stocks are typically more volatile than the price of the commodity itself, because their profit margins are leveraged to the gold price - a one percent drop in gold reduces profits by more than one percent.
Reporting by Allison Martell; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson and Chizu Nomiyama