TORONTO, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- Canada's main stock market in Toronto inched down on Thursday, as losses in Information Technology and Telecommunications outweighed the gains in gold and energy stocks.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's benchmark Standard & Poor's/TSX Composite ticked down 3.28 points, or 0.02 percent, to end the session at 15,399.11 points. Six of the ten sub-groups ended the day lower.
The biggest drags on the day were the Information Technology and Telecommunication groups, slipping 0.71 percent and 0.48 percent, respectively.
The TSX IT Group closed lower for a fourth straight session, as Waterloo-based firms Open Text Corporation and Blackberry Limited saw respective declines of 1.50 percent and 0.77 percent. During the last four sessions, the group is down a combined 3.40 percent.
The Telecommunications group was weighed down by after worse than expected fourth quarter results from BCE Inc., Canada's largest telecommunications company. The company saw revenues 1.8 percent to 5.7 billion Canadian dollars, but earnings per share of 76 cents fell below analysts' expectations of 78 cents. As a result, shares sunk 1.63 percent to 57.44 Canadian dollars (44.12 U.S. dollars).
Other groups to also finish the day in negative territory included: Consumer Discretionary (0.44 percent), Financials (0.38 percent), Industrials (0.35 percent), and Consumer Staples (0.28 percent).
Losses in the Financials group were attributed to two of the country's largest insurance firms. Sun Life Financial Inc. shares retreated 1.78 percent to 50.16 Canadian dollars (38.53 U.S. dollars), while Manulife Financial Corporation slipped 1.40 percent to 24.63 Canadian dollars (18.92 U.S. dollars) a share.
On the bright side, four groups finished the day ahead. The largest gain came from the Health Care sector rising 1.09 percent, while Materials, Energy and Utilities saw respective increases of 0.61 percent, 0.38 percent and 0.32 percent.
The TSX Health Care group had its strongest session in more than three weeks, as Laval-based Valeant Pharmaceuticals shares soared 3.75 percent to 18.55 Canadian dollars (14.25 U.S. dollars).
The Materials group, which feature of producers of gold, precious metals, and raw materials, rose for a third straight session, as the spot price of gold jumped 5.80 dollars to 1,215.40 U.S. dollars an ounce.
As a result, shares Barrick Gold Corporation, the world's largest producer of gold climbed 2.20 percent to 24.64 Canadian dollars (18.93 U.S. dollars). Miners Detour Gold Corporation and Torex Gold Resources Inc. shares also benefited from the increase in price, soaring 6.57 percent and 5.90 percent, respectively.
The energy group's modest gain mirrored the performance of crude oil on the day. Brent futures for April delivery ticked up 0.37 percent to 56.77 U.S. dollars a barrel. Shares of Calgary-based Baytex Energy Corp. fell 0.96 percent to 5.17 Canadian dollars (3.97 U.S. dollars), while Encana Corporation shares closed at 16.56 Canadian dollars (12.72 U.S. dollars), a 0.18 percent decline.
The Canadian dollar rose 0.17 cents to end the session at 0.7681 U.S. dollars.