TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index fell for a fifth straight session on Wednesday with energy shares leading the retreat as oil prices dropped and investors fretted about renewed tension in the euro zone.
The resource-laden Toronto index has now given up all the gains it made after the U.S. Federal Reserve unveiled a major stimulus program earlier this month that buttressed a similar move from the European Central Bank.
"Emotions are driving reactions in the marketplace," said Brian Pow, a research and equity analyst at Acumen Capital Partners in Calgary.
Oil producer Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (CNQ.TO) closed 1.3 percent lower at C$30.53, and Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO), Canada's No. 1 integrated oil producer and refiner, was down 0.7 percent at C$32.01.
Crude prices also wiped away the gains they made after the Fed and ECB stimulus measures, falling more than 1 percent before paring some of those losses. <O/R>
Rising popular opposition in Greece and Spain to measures aimed at resolving the euro zone's debt crisis unnerved investors already worried about weak global economic growth.
"It'll probably take some pretty drastic adjustments over in Europe to stop the bouncing around," Pow said.
Market anxiety mounted after Greek police fired teargas at youths hurling petrol bombs and stones as tens of thousands took to the streets in Athens in Greece's biggest anti-austerity demonstration in months.
The demonstration followed violent protests in Spain and reignited worries that the euro zone debt crisis is deepening despite efforts by central banks to reflate economies.
"Markets have a very tough time dealing with uncertainty, and in a word, that is what's dominated this marketplace, the uncertainty of the outlook ahead," said Peter Chandler, a senior vice-president at Canaccord Wealth Management based in Waterloo, Ontario.
The benchmark Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE lost 24.32 points, or 0.20 percent, to close at 12,232.86, its lowest settle since September 12.
Canaccord's Chandler suggested the fall was a natural reaction to a lack of catalysts.
"The market is stuck in a trading range, it's at the high end of its range now and in the absence of more meaningful economic developments or news the market stays in a trading range," he said.
One of the big bright spots was a 5.8 percent rise to C$6.88 in Research In Motion Ltd RIM.TO shares, which put in a second day of solid gains after the struggling BlackBerry maker surprised investors with upbeat subscriber numbers. RIM reports quarterly results after the market close on Thursday.
Gold miners were also surprisingly buoyant despite a fall in bullion prices to an almost two-week low.
The world's biggest producer of the precious metal, Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO), ending up 0.1 percent at C$40.31 after dropping in early trade. Goldcorp (G.TO) had the biggest positive impact on the index, up 1 percent at C$44.31.
"People with a longer-term view are trying to look through that (lack of market confidence) and take advantage of some of the opportunities as stocks come off," said Acumen's Pow, pointing to financial stocks in mortgage and insurance, and discounted oil services shares.
Canadian shares are expected to make further gains this year and into the middle of 2013, a Reuters poll of market strategists released on Wednesday showed, as the recent central bank stimulus is expected to lift lagging resource stocks.
Shares in private equity company Onex Corp OCX.TO gained 0.3 percent to C$38.20, reversing early losses, after it said it would buy German plastics machinery maker KraussMaffei AG for 568 million euros ($736 million).
Talisman Energy Inc TLM.TO shares dipped 0.3 percent to C$13.22 even though a company executive said Talisman will have new crude oil and condensate production coming online in Vietnam and Papua New Guinea in the next two years to meet growing demand in Asia.
Base metal miner Lundin Mining Corp (LUN.TO) fell 3.4 percent to C$4.79 after it said it will not exercise its option to buy a stake in the Touro copper mine in northern Spain as it sees insufficient returns from the project.
Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Peter Galloway