* TSX 52.16 points, or 0.4 percent, at 12,671.30
* Materials, energy issues weigh
* Oil and metal prices drag on shares
* Financials slide despite healthy bank earnings
By Jon Cook
TORONTO, March 2 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index was lower at midday on Friday as a stronger U.S. dollar pressured oil and gold prices, hurting resource issues.
Six of the index’s 10 main sectors were lower, with the heavyweight materials and energy groups leading the way, down 0.7 percent and 0.6 percent respectively. Miners and oil and gas producers slumped as gold and oil prices slid alongside a drop in the euro against the greenback.
“One of the stories here is the euro, which was trading at US$1.34 only days ago, has come off and that has implications for commodities prices, all of which are denominated in U.S. dollars,” said Robert Gorman, chief portfolio strategist at TD Waterhouse.
Canadian Natural Resources led energy sector’s losses, falling 1 percent to C$37.02 as Brent crude oil futures slipped below $125 a barrel on Friday, after surging 5 percent a day earlier.
Countering the sector’s slide, Progress Energy Resources Corp rose 6.4 percent to C$11.47 on Friday, after the natural gas explorer signaled higher liquids production, prompting at least one rating upgrade.
Gold producers were led lower by Yamana Gold, down 2.1 percent to C$16.90, and Eldorado Gold, which was down 2 percent at 14.94 as gold prices headed for a 3 percent decline on the week.
A drop in silver and copper prices hit Silver Wheaton , which tumbled 2.7 percent to C$37.21, and Teck Resources, down 2.1 percent at C$38.71.
Around noon, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 52.16 points, or 0.4 percent, at 12,671.30.
The European Central Bank’s move to inject 500 billion euros ($666.6 billion) in cheap, 3-year loans to the banking system this week added fuel to a 2-1/2 month recovery rally in risky assets, but the momentum showed signs of easing on Friday as European and North American markets retreated.
“You’re having a few second sober thoughts about some of the issues that continue to lie ahead,” Gorman said.
Canadian financial shares were down 0.4 percent, despite earnings by major banks this week that beat analyst estimates. Royal Bank of Canada, the country’s largest bank, was the biggest drag, falling 1.1 percent to C$56.17. On Thursday, RBC’s shares jumped 2 percent after its quarterly profit beat expectations and it increased its dividend.
“When you see such a move it’s very common to have a bit of a retracement afterwards,” Gorman said.
National Bank of Canada shares rose 0.8 percent to C$78.08 a day after Canada’s No. 6 bank reported its quarterly profit rose 3.1 percent.