CANADA STOCKS-TSX retreats from 2009 highs, financials drag

Thu May 7, 2009 4:52pm 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)

By Jennifer Kwan

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: Quote) fell 2.5 percent to C$22.18, while Sun Life (SLF.TO: Quote) fell 6.5 percent to C$28.00. Great-West Life (GWO.TO: Quote) tumbled 6.3 percent to C$21.45.

Banks were also under pressure, with Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote) 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.   Continued...