(Updates to close)
* TSX ends down 61.15 points, or 0.5 percent, at 12,212.42
* Energy and financials drag; golds rise
* Weakest close for index since Sept. 6
By Claire Sibonney
TORONTO, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index hitits lowest closing level in nearly five weeks on Wednesday,driven downward by falling financial and energy shares after thestart of the U.S. earnings season flashed mixed signals for theglobal economy.
U.S. earnings season kicked off with aluminum company Alcoa
posting a quarterly net loss and a weaker consumptionoutlook for China, while Chevron's
profit warningdragged on the energy sector. Those negative headlines were onlypartially offset by Yum Brands Inc
, the parent companyof KFC, which raised its full-year outlook after sales in Chinaheld up despite that nation's cooling economy.
"I think we came in to start off earnings season with fairlylow expectations and it seems some investors were disappointed,"said Youssef Zohny, portfolio manager at Stenner InvestmentPartners, part of Richardson GMP, in Vancouver.
"We saw earnings from a major industrial company as well asa major consumer company both doing business in China and we sawan interesting dynamic there where an industrial company wasdisappointing and a consumer company was better than expected."
Among the heaviest laggards on the TSX were thegrowth-sensitive cyclical sectors such as energy, down 1percent, and financials, off 0.6 percent.
lost 1.2 percent to C$32.29, CanadianNatural Resourcesdropped 1.8 percent to C$29.80, andBank of Nova Scotiafell 0.8 percent to C$53.37.
Gold miners were among the top gainers after a heavysell-off in the previous session.
was the most influential name on theupside, surging nearly 21 percent to C$7.60 after announcing itwill sell the Ocampo mine in Mexico, as well as adjacentexploration projects and a 50 percent stake in the Orionproject, to tycoon Carlos Slim's Minera Frisco for $750 million.
Goldcorp Incrose 0.5 percent to C$43.61, and YamanaGold
climbed 1.9 percent to C$18.40.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
ended down 61.15 points, or 0.5 percent, at 12,212.42,its weakest close since Sept. 6.
Analysts are forecasting the third-quarter earnings of WallStreet's S&P 500
companies will fall 2.3 percent from theyear-earlier quarter, according to Thomson Reuters data, whichwould be the first drop in U.S. quarterly earnings in threeyears.
Continued uncertainty over whether, and when, Spain willapply for a bailout helped darken the market mood. A Spanishbailout is seen by some as the necessary next step toalleviating the euro zone's debt crisis.
In its semi-annual check on the world's financial healthearlier this week, the International Monetary Fund said the eurozone crisis was an increasing threat to global financialstability and that confidence was "very fragile".
In Canadian company news, pharmacy chain Jean Coutu GroupInc
rose 0.3 percent to C$14.57 after reported a risein adjusted quarterly earnings on Wednesday as its generic drugmanufacturing subsidiary, Pro Doc, posted a double-digit gain insales and operating income.
Earnings from U.S. warehouse chain Costco Wholesale Corp
were also a bright spot. The company reported a 27percent jump in fourth quarter profit on higher sales andmembership fees.
"I thought the earnings that came out from Yum Brands ...Costco this morning and Jean Coutu were pretty meaningful. Thecompanies continue to report good earnings and modest economicgrowth continues," said Barry Schwartz, vice president andportfolio manager at Baskin Financial Services.
(Reporting by Claire Sibonney; Editing by Theodore d'Afflisio)
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