CANADA STOCKS-TSX falls to a 1-week low on weaker oil, gold

Tue Mar 8, 2011 4:40pm EST
 
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 *TSX down 79.38 points at 14,012.97
 *Energy, materials sectors weaker as financials gain
 *Oil, gold prices drop but copper ends higher
 (Updates to close, adds details, quotes)
 By Claire Sibonney
 TORONTO, March 8 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
pulled back for a second day on Tuesday and closed at its
lowest level in more than a week as oil companies and gold
miners succumbed to softer commodity prices though strength in
financial shares helped limit the losses.
 The index's weighty energy and materials sectors were both
down sharply, off 2.6 percent and 1 percent respectively.
 Oil prices slipped after after Kuwait's oil minister said
OPEC was considering boosting production for the first time in
more than two years, soothing investors' anxiety over spreading
civil unrest in Libya and the Middle East. [O/R]
 Easing crude prices -- with U.S. futures settling around
$105 and Brent near $113 -- also tarnished the safe-haven
allure of gold. U.S. gold futures for April GCJ1 fell below
$1,430 an ounce after hitting a record high of $1,445.70 on
Monday. Copper prices, however, bounced back from a two-week
low. [GOL/]
 Among the heaviest decliners, Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote) plunged
4.2 percent to C$43.67, Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote),
dropped 3.4 percent to C$46.46, while Barrick Gold Corp
(ABX.TO: Quote) fell 1.4 percent to C$50.80.
 "Certainly last week was a very strong week for Canadian
equities, so today is a continuation of the pullback we saw
yesterday," said Jason Hornett, vice-president and fund manager
at Bissett Investment Management in Calgary.
 "Investors in Canada are probably repositioning their
portfolios ... lowering their risk as we are seeing some
strength in the consumer staples and other defensive groups,"
he added, noting a better performance for utilities and
pipeline companies.
 Fertilizer producers were also big laggards as violent
clashes in Libya and inflated oil prices continue to weigh on
the outlook for a global economic recovery. Potash Corp
(POT.TO: Quote), the world's largest fertilizer maker, extended its
recent losses, falling 1.4 percent to C$56.67.
 Hornett said investors were mostly taking profits in that
sector given its recent robust performance, noting the
underlying commodity prices were still quite strong.
 The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
.GSPTSE ended down 79.38 points, or 0.56 percent, at
14,012.97, following Monday's 160-point dive. It was the lowest
close since Feb. 24.
 Financials were up 0.5 percent as impressive quarterly bank
earnings continued to lend support.
 Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO: Quote) skidded 1.7 percent to
C$59.15, however, despite reporting an 18 percent increase in
quarterly profit and raising its dividend. Expectations for its
results were high due to strong earnings at other Canadian
banks. [ID:nN07110134]
  ($1=$0.97 Canadian)
 (Reporting by Claire Sibonney; editing by Peter Galloway)