Canada's benchmark stock index edged lower on Monday, giving up its earlier gains, as profit-taking by investors in gold pressured shares of companies that mine the precious metal.

Gold, which had been boosted this month by tensions over Iran and North Korea, retreated 0.8 per cent to US$1,291.90 an ounce.

Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO), the world's largest gold miner, fell 2.2 per cent to $20.35 and Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd (AEM.TO) retreated 2.3 per cent to $57.00.

In contrast, shares of copper producer First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) climbed 2.5 per cent to $15.84, after copper broke through the US$7,000 a tonne mark for the first time in three years, buoyed by data from China.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 0.7 per cent.

Shares of Magna International Inc (MG.TO) lost 2.8 per cent to $66.48. The stock has pulled back as much as 5 per cent since posting a nearly 2-year high on Wednesday.

Auto parts makers, such as Magna, could be hurt if negotiators fail to reach a deal to renew the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The Trump administration has presented a series of hard-line proposals in the latest round of talks over NAFTA's modernization that partners Canada and Mexico say will be tough to accept.

"If you are a risk averse investor, you take a little off the table," said Rick Hutcheon, president and chief operating officer at RKH Investments.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index closed down 4.47 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 15,802.70.

Still, it touched its highest intraday since Feb. 23 at 15,866.82 and has rallied 5.7 per cent since early September.

"We have had such a good move, a little check back here wouldn't be surprising," Hutcheon said. "But I don't think it is going to be anything more than that."

Hutcheon expects upcoming quarterly earnings results to be robust, boosted by Canada's strong economic performance this year.

Canadian companies have seen capacity and labor market pressures intensify over the past year, the Bank of Canada said in its quarterly Business Outlook Survey.

The groups of financial and energy shares, which together account for 54 per cent of the TSX's weight, each rose 0.1 per cent.

U.S. crude oil futures settled 0.8 per cent higher at US$51.87 a barrel as Iraqi forces entered the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

Shares in Hudson's Bay Co (HBC.TO), which is reviewing strategic options including taking the company private, fell 4.6 per cent to $11.74, with some analysts attributing the drop to rival Nordstrom Inc's failed attempt to go private.