CANADA STOCKS-TSX down, ends 8 days of gains; lower commods drag resource stocks

Tue Mar 8, 2016 5:14pm EST
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(New throughout, updates prices and market activity, adds comments from portfolio manager, details on Encana)

* TSX ends down 72.55 points, or 0.54 percent, to 13,311.05

* Six of the TSX's 10 main groups were lower

By Fergal Smith

TORONTO, March 8 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index broke an eight session winning streak on Tuesday as lower commodity prices and weak Chinese data weighed on resource stocks, but financials and defensive stocks rose and the index still held near three-month highs.

The energy group retreated 3.0 percent, while the materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 2.5 percent.

Commodity related stocks succumbed to profit taking after recent sharp gains, said Kevin Headland, director of capital markets and strategy at Manulife Asset Management.

Strength in those sectors has helped lift the index more than 15 percent since it hit an almost 3-1/2-year low in January.

The Bank of Canada monetary policy decision on Wednesday encouraged a "wait and see" approach, Headland added.   Continued...