CANADA STOCKS-TSX sinks as financials, resources drag

Thu May 7, 2009 4:33pm EDT
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* TSX finishes down 1.74 percent at 9,967.05

* Rises early to 2009 high before easing

* Big insurers weigh on financial issues

* Energy group succumbs to oil price reversal (Updates to close, adds details, quote)

TORONTO, May 7 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index retreated on Thursday after four sessions of gains as weak results from Canada's big insurers hit financial issues, while crude oil prices pulled back from earlier highs.

The financials group, down 3.2 percent, led the broad selloff as the country's top three insurers reported quarterly results that reflected ailing stock markets, credit impairments and the need to shore up reserves. [ID:nN07467694]

Manulife Financial MFC.TO fell 2.5 percent to C$22.18, while Sun Life SLF.TO fell 6.5 percent to C$28.00. Great-West Life GWO.TO tumbled 6.3 percent to C$21.45.

Banks were also under pressure, with Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO off 2.5 percent at C$43.89, ahead of the results of "stress tests" of major U.S. banks due at 5 p.m.

The energy group was off 1.1 percent as the price of oil CLc1 fell back from earlier gains. [ID:nSP407747] The materials group slid 0.8 percent, even as gold prices remained steady.   Continued...