TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index fell on Wednesday, weighed by declines for financial shares, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc (>> Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc) and Canadian National Railway Co (>> Canadian National Railway Company), while gold-mining stocks were boosted by higher gold prices.
- The largest decliner on the index was Valeant, down 11.6 percent at C$24.51, after Goldman Sachs gave the shares a "sell" rating.
- CN Rail fell 2.1 percent to C$98.01 after reporting a lower-than-expected adjusted profit for the fourth quarter, hurt by the heavy expenses it has incurred to grow its business.
- The financial services sector, which accounts for more than one-third of the index's weight, fell 0.6 percent.
- The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index <.GSPTSE> closed down 73.34 points, or 0.45 percent, at 16,284.21.
- The energy group dipped 0.3 percent even as oil prices were boosted by a record 10th straight weekly decline in U.S. crude inventories.
- U.S. crude oil futures <CLc1> settled 1.8 percent higher at $65.61 a barrel.
- Eight of the index's 10 main groups lost ground.
- The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added nearly 1 percent.
- Gold prices reached their highest level in more than four months after a U.S. official welcomed a weaker dollar and investors sought insurance against uncertainty. [GOL/]
- Spot gold <XAU=> rose 1.3 percent to 1,358.57 an ounce, while Novagold Resources Inc (>> NovaGold Resources Inc.) climbed 8.3 percent to C$5.38 and Yamana Gold Inc (>> Yamana Gold Inc.) advanced 2.5 percent to C$4.54.
- Marijuana producer CanniMed Therapeutics Inc (>> CanniMed Therapeutics Inc) jumped 11.7 percent to C$41.90 after Aurora Cannabis Inc (>> Aurora Cannabis Inc), Canada's second-biggest producer, agreed to buy the company for C$1.1 billion.
(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Susan Thomas and Peter Cooney)