UPDATE 1-Toronto stock index sinks as resources sag

Tue Sep 2, 2008 9:53am EDT
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TORONTO, Sept 2 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index opened 1.8 percent lower on Tuesday, pulled down by energy and materials stocks, as crude tumbled after Hurricane Gustav spared major U.S. Gulf oil facilities, and metals prices sagged.

Shortly after the open, the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 249.53 points, or 1.8 percent, at 13,521.72, with five of its 10 main groups lower. The market was closed for the Labor Day holiday on Monday.

The benchmark index's key energy sector fell 5.3 percent as oil retreated toward $107 a barrel as fears eased over Hurricane Gustav's wrath on U.S. oil facilities.

EnCana Corp ECA.TO sank 5.2 percent to C$75.69 and Canadian Natural Resources CNQ.TO fell 5.3 percent to C$85.88.

Materials, home to resource shares, fell 5.1 percent as gold tumbled on oil's retreat and as the U.S. dollar strengthened, while some base metals also sagged.

Agnico Eagle AEM.TO tumbled 6.7 percent to C$56.88 and Barrick Gold ABX.TO fell 5 percent to C$35.08.

But as resource shares tumbled, financials and consumer-related stocks benefited.

The financial services sector rose 1.4 percent, while the consumer discretionary group climbed 1.5 percent. Industrials were up 1 percent. ($1=$1.07 Canadian) (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Janet Guttsman)