TSX falls as lower oil prices weigh on energy, financial shares

Tue Feb 23, 2016 4:39pm EST
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By Fergal Smith

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index fell on Tuesday as lower crude oil prices weighed on energy stocks, while financials reversed course after being lifted in earlier trade by better-than-expected Bank of Montreal earnings.

The index touched a seven-week high on Monday together with gains for many major stock markets. But the rally in global stocks ran out of steam as crude oil prices fell.

"We are still working through a base building process for world markets," said Colin Cieszynski, senior market analyst at CMC Markets Canada.

It has led to "choppy trading" where markets can't sustain momentum in either direction, he added.

The index retreated less than U.S. markets, cushioned by strengthening in the shares of gold miners as spot gold XAU= rallied nearly 1.3 percent.

It has fallen 1.9 percent year-to-date compared with a 6 percent drop for the S&P 500 .SPX.

The energy group fell 3.6 percent. It included a 3.4 percent drop in the shares of major oil sands operator Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO: Quote) to $32.73, while Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (CNQ.TO: Quote) fell 4.5 percent to C$27.55.

U.S. crude CLc1 prices settled at $31.87 a barrel, down 4.55 percent after Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi ruled out any production cuts. [O/R]   Continued...

A man walks past an old Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) sign in Toronto, June 23, 2014.   REUTERS/Mark Blinch