CANADA STOCKS-Libya crisis knocks TSX off 32-month high

Mon Mar 7, 2011 4:30pm EST
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   * TSX down 160.42 points, or 1.1 pct, at 14,092.35
 * All 10 sectors weaker; energy, materials drag
 * U.S. oil futures end above $105 a barrel
 * Gold hits record above $1,440, silver highest since 1980
 (Updates to close, adds details, comments)
 By Claire Sibonney
 TORONTO, March 7 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
closed sharply lower on Monday, after nearing a three-year
high, on fears that rising oil prices and instability in Libya
and the Middle East would damage the global economic recovery.
 The index's energy sector ended down 1.5 percent,
retreating from an early rally, as escalating violence in Libya
and rumors that leader Muammar Gaddafi was seeking an exit deal
contributed to a volatile day for oil prices. Still, U.S. crude
futures settled higher, above $105 a barrel. [O/R]
 "The global macro environment seems to have entered a new
phase of uncertainty and that could have triggered a bout of
profit-taking on the TSX," said Elvis Picardo, an analyst and
strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver, noting the TSX
hit a 32-month high shortly after the open.
 Picardo said the uncertainty is measured by the fact that
both energy and gold mining issues were down sharply despite
oil prices well north of $100 a barrel and gold reaching a
record above $1,400 an ounce. [GOL/]
 Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote) dropped 1.8 percent to C$45.57, and
Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote) plunged 3.2 percent to
 The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
.GSPTSE ended down 160.42 points, or 1.13 percent, at
14,092.35. Earlier in the session, it rose as high as
14,329.49, its highest level since July 2008.
 All of the index's 10 main sectors were weaker.
 The materials sector, home to base-metal miners and
fertilizer producers -- both proxies for economic growth --
finished down 1.3 percent, as the price of copper suffered its
biggest one-day decline in nearly four months. [MET/L]
 Potash Corp (POT.TO: Quote) tumbled 3.2 percent to C$57.49, and
diversified miner Teck Resources TCKb.TO lost almost 3
percent at C$52.53.
 Precious metals miners also shifted from gains to losses,
tracking swings in oil, as the price of gold climbed into
record territory and silver hit its highest point since 1980.
 The subsector was off 0.6 percent as Goldcorp (G.TO: Quote)
slipped 0.2 percent to C$48.62 percent. However, Barrick Gold
Corp (ABX.TO: Quote) rose 0.3 percent to C$51.53 and Silver Wheaton
SLW.TO advanced 0.2 percent to C$43.74.
 ($1=$0.97 Canadian)
 (Reporting by Claire Sibonney; editing by Rob Wilson)