Canadian Markets

July 10, 2012, 4:59 p.m. EDT

Canada stocks end lower; housing data strengthen

RIM shares retreat as annual meeting convenes

By Sarah Pringle, MarketWatch

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Equities fell Tuesday in Toronto, pressured by commodities and tech stocks, as investors discounted positive data on Canadian housing starts for June.

/zigman2/quotes/210598478/delayed GSPTSE 20,197.61, +15.69, +0.08%

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index (TORONTO:CA:GSPTSE) stumbled 122.45 points, or 1.05%, to settle at 11,512.22.

A 2.7% slide in materials equities (TORONTO:XX:TORGC195) , followed by a 2.3% fall in the metals and mining sector helped set the overall trading tone.

“Sentiment for these sectors, particularly commodities, has been negatively affected on the day by the weaker-than-expected import numbers from China as well as yesterday’s earnings report from Alcoa,” said Elvis Picardo, vice president of research and portfolio manager at Global Securities.

Still, housing starts came in better than expected, with 222,700 annualized units, beating a market consensus of 205,000. In May, Canada saw 217,000 housing starts on a comparable basis.

Increases were driven by a spike in multifamily units, which rose by 4.1%, or 5,200, to 132,000.

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RIM moves to appease shareholders

In a move aimed at appeasing frustrated investors, Research In Motion's chairwoman said it is actively looking to further shake up its board of directors. (Photo: Getty Images)

“Tighter mortgage regulations will help to slow construction activity, although its impact will show up later in the year,” wrote TD Securities strategist Mazen Issa in a note Tuesday.

“In the meantime, the Bank of Canada will have to remain vigilant if the recently announced regulations tightening the mortgage market fail to slow housing activity,” Issa added.

On the technology side, the sector saw a 2% drop (TORONTO:XX:TORGC194) as Sandvine Corp.  shed 6.5% and Class A shares of CGI Group Inc. (TSE:CA:GIB.A)  fell 2.3%.

And following its annual shareholders meeting Tuesday, shares of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd.   lost 4.6%.

“Research In Motion is a significant decliner after shareholders were not reassured about the company’s prospects,” said Picardo.

A BlackBerry handset

Read more about RIM board meeting.

Losses fell in line with the U.S. tech sector, which performed poorly Tuesday following weak quarterly financial reports from chip makers Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NAS:AMD)  and Applied Materials Inc. (NAS:AMAT)  

Gold miners were also in the red, with Eldorado Gold Corp. (TSE:CA:ELD)  dropping 5.7% and Kinross Gold Corp. (TSE:CA:K)  sliding 4.9%.

Reversing early gains, gold futures for August ended lower to trade at $1,579.80 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Read more on gold.

In corporate news, Bombardier Inc. confirmed a $764 million order from Latvian flag carrier Air Baltic Corp. for as many as 20 CSeries jets. The announcement boosted Class B shares of the Montreal-based company by 0.25%. Read more on the airplane maker's sale.

In currencies, the U.S. dollar rose modestly on its Canadian counterpart (XTUP:USDCAD) , purchasing C$1.0226 vs. C$1.0191 on Monday.

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