By Catherine Carlock, MarketWatch
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Canadian stocks closed mostly down Monday, weighed by gold shares, as investors awaited the Bank of Canada's key policy interest rate announcement Tuesday.
The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index extended its steep drop in Friday's session, losing 26 points, or 0.2%, to 11,543.
Of the major sector indexes, the S&P/TSX Global Gold Index led percentage decliners with a 1.7% drop. The index tracked retreating gold futures prices. Gold for August delivery lost $6.30, or 0.5%, to $1,181.90 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Major gold stocks held losses throughout trade Monday. Shares of Eldorado Gold Corp. /zigman2/quotes/207321207/delayed CA:ELD -2.89% dropped 2.9%, and shares of Yamana Gold Inc. /zigman2/quotes/206359073/delayed CA:YRI -0.91% lost 2.6%. NovaGold Resources Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202931372/delayed CA:NG +1.20% and Iamgold Corp. /zigman2/quotes/206182143/delayed CA:IMG +0.74% shares dropped 2.2% and 1.9%, respectively.
The Canadian dollar rose against its U.S. counterpart Monday, with one greenback purchasing C$1.0545, down from C$1.0571 Friday.
The Bank of Canada is widely expected to raise interest rates Tuesday by 25 basis points to 0.75%, according to Mark Chandler, head of Canadian fixed-income and currency research at RBC Capital. Chandler said he expects the rate hike will have minimal impact on equity markets.
"Both fixed-income and equity markets will recognize that this is simply a renormalization of where interest rates should be, and not be viewed negatively in terms of growth," Chandler said. "We shouldn't expect that interest rates will remain at emergency low rates forever."
The policy rate now stands at 0.5% after a 0.25% hike in June. The June increase marked the first time in three years the central bank raised interest rates.
Bank of Canada is also expected to revise its growth forecast. Chandler said he expects downward revision for both this year and 2011.
The S&P/TSX Capped Diversified Metals and Mining Index fell 0.4%, weighed by a 3.6% drop in Jaguar Mining Inc. /zigman2/quotes/200068656/delayed CA:JAG -6.95% and a 4.7% loss in Silvercorp Metals Inc. /zigman2/quotes/210397281/delayed CA:SVM -3.13% .
The S&P/TSX Capped Financials Index lost 0.9%, with most major banks closing lower. Shares of the Bank of Nova Scotia /zigman2/quotes/206642548/delayed CA:BNS -2.79% fell 1.4%, while the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce /zigman2/quotes/206423838/delayed CA:CM +0.66% dropped 1%. The Toronto-Dominion Bank /zigman2/quotes/209283160/delayed CA:TD +0.68% and the Royal Bank of Canada /zigman2/quotes/200638870/delayed CA:RY +0.40% shares each dropped a fraction.
Crude for August delivery added 53 cents, or 0.7%, to close at $76.54 a barrel in New York. It had traded as high as $77.73 earlier Monday. Oilfield-services company Halliburton Co. /zigman2/quotes/210488727/composite HAL -5.17% reported earnings Monday, beating analysts' estimates but warning that a moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico would impact 2010 results.
The S&P/TSX Capped Energy Trust inched 0.3% higher. Shares of Niko Resources Ltd. rose 4.5%, while shares of Trinidad Drilling Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/208542620/delayed CA:TDG -7.14% dropped 1.4%.
On Wednesday, natural-gas and crude exploration and development company EnCana Corp. is slated to report quarterly earnings. Its shares closed up 0.5% at $33.75.