TSX slips as gold and oil shares ease with Syria fears

MONTREAL (Sept 10)   Canada's main stock index declined on Tuesday as commodity prices dropped as concerns about a military strike on Syria eased, weighing on shares of gold miners and energy companies.

Data from China, which showed industrial output topped expectations in August, failed to lift sentiment in the Toronto market.

Prices for bullion and oil surged as the Syrian conflict escalated in recent weeks with investors looking for safe havens, but they have given up some of those gains this week.

The bullion price shed about 2 percent on Tuesday, pushing gold miners down 3.4 percent. A more than 2 percent decline in the price of oil helped take energy producers down 1 percent.

Tensions relaxed after Syria accepted a Russian proposal to give up chemical weapons in hopes of winning a reprieve from a U.S. military strike.

"It means investors don't have to be so aggressive in protecting themselves against the possibility (of military action) by buying things like gold and oil," said Fred Ketchen, director of equity trading at ScotiaMcLeod.

"People think it's probably wise to take some profits, selling off a little bit until they find another reason to turn more aggressive on the buy side."

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index <.GSPTSE> was down 26.15 points, or 0.20 percent, at 12,828.49.

Five of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the red.

The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, lost 1.7 percent. Shares of gold producers fell the most.

Goldcorp Inc (>> Goldcorp Inc.) declined 4 percent to C$28.97 and had the biggest negative influence on the index. Barrick Gold Corp (>> Barrick Gold Corp.) gave back 3.2 percent to C$19.28.

In the energy group, Suncor Energy Inc (>> Suncor Energy Inc.) lost 1.8 percent to C$36.12, and Enbridge Inc (>> Enbridge Inc) was down 0.8 percent at C$42.91.