Toronto stock market ends four-day climb as key commodity prices weaken

TORONTO – The Toronto stock market ended its four-day climb on Monday as traders reined in their enthusiasm and commodity prices shifted lower.

The S&P/TSX composite index ended the day 52.61 points lower to 12,446.86 while the TSX Venture Exchange inched down 0.2 of a point to 1,317.91.

The Canadian dollar backed off 0.48 of a cent to 102.49 cents US.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrials were down 40.27 points to 13,553.10, the Nasdaq composite index backed off 5.28 points to 3,178.67, while the S&P 500 index slid 4.58 points to 1,461.19.

“We’ve had such a big move in such a short period of time … so I’d say a little bit of profit taking is to be expected,” said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall and MacTier.

“If anything, it’s quite minor to me.”

Traders backed away from some of their enthusiasm over the U.S. Federal Reserve’s plan for new measures to energize the economy, while attention turned to weakness in Asian markets, and a move from Hong Kong to tighten mortgage lending — an effort to help slow the rise of home prices.

Sentiment on the Canadian housing market also pulled back as the Canadian Real Estate Association cut its forecast for home sales this year and next and lowered its national average price forecast, partly due to revised mortgage lending regulations implemented last month.

In its outlook for the year, CREA said Monday that home sales are now forecast to rise by 1.9 per cent to 466,900 units in 2012, but slip by 1.9 per cent to 457,800 units in 2013. The national average home price is forecast to rise by just 0.6 per cent to $365,000 in 2012 and edge lower by one-tenth of one per cent to $364,500 in 2013.

Shares of Rona Inc. (TSX:RON) were down 11.6 per cent after Lowe Companies (NYSE:LOW) pulled its takeover offer for the company. The offer, which had faced significant political opposition in Quebec, would have seen the home-improvement retailer acquired for about $1.8 billion. Rona shares backed off $1.48 to $11.29.

TSX technology stocks were 1.1 per cent lower with Research In Motion (TSX:RIM) shares falling 3.7 per cent, or 27 cents, to $7.07.

The decline came as Apple says iPhone 5 pre-orders topped two million in 24 hours, more than double the amount of iPhone 4S pre-orders.

In commodities, the October crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell $2.38 to end the session at US$96.62.

Copper prices for December were down 3.5 cents to US$3.80 a pound. Copper, viewed as an economic barometer because it is used in so many industries, surged 19 cents last week.

Gold closed down $2.10 at US$1,770.60 an ounce.

Metals and mining stocks were the biggest decliner, off 3.8 per cent, with Teck Resources (TSX:TCK.B) falling $1.24 to $31.78.

The telecom sector moved 0.04 per cent lower as the chief executive of Rogers Communications (TSX:RCI.B) said he expects wirelessly connected hydro meters and other devices will be a big source of revenue in the near future, and could grow to more than $400 million of annual revenue for the industry by 2015. Shares of the company were down 34 cents to $40.07.

Global stock markets rallied late last week after the Fed announced it planned to buy US$40 billion of mortgage bonds a month for as long as necessary as part of a strategy known as quantitative easing aimed at encouraging people to borrow money and spend it.

The Fed also extended its pledge to keep short-term interest rates low until 2015, a year longer than its previous target.