By John Tilak
TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index slipped on Monday as disappointing economic data from China weighed on sentiment and a slump in the price of bullion sent gold-mining shares tumbling to their biggest single-day drop in more than three months.
A survey showed that China's manufacturing industry contracted in the first quarter of 2014, adding to a slew of recent data indicating that China, a big buyer of Canadian resources, is struggling to maintain growth.
Investors also digested figures showing a solid pace of growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector in the first quarter.
Shares of gold producers fell with the price of bullion as investors feared the impact of rising U.S. interest rates.
The Toronto stock market's benchmark index was lower after recording a 0.8 percent gain the previous week. It is still up about 5 percent this year.
"I think the market is going to go through a very uncertain period here, without much direction," said Michael Sprung, president of Sprung Investment Management.
"The economic numbers in the United States point to a strengthening economy, but the fear is that it won't take too much to stall the recovery," he added. "I don't think we're going to see much buoyancy, at least in the immediate future."
Sprung expects the Canadian market to pull back in the near term, but he is optimistic about prospects for the year in general.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index <.GSPTSE> closed down 57.21 points, or 0.40 percent, at 14,278.55. Five of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the red.
Gold-mining shares dropped 4.4 percent, hurt by a 2 percent fall in the price of bullion. Barrick Gold Corp lost 4.6 percent to C$20.75, and Goldcorp Inc gave back 4.2 percent to C$28.61.
Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, added 0.3 percent. Royal Bank of Canada was up 0.4 percent at C$72.43, and Toronto-Dominion Bank advanced 0.3 percent to C$51.70.
Shares of energy producers advanced following a gain in the price of oil. Suncor Energy Inc climbed 1.4 percent to C$36.86.
(Editing by Peter Galloway and Matthew Lewis)