February 12, 2009 / 3:41 PM / 9 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX falls on weak results, lower oil

* Financials lead TSX lower, insurers slump after results

* Energy sector down as oil drops below $35 a barrel

* Gildan Activewear drops 20.7 percent after results

(Adds details, quote)

TORONTO, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock market index opened broadly lower on Thursday, pulled down by weak corporate results and a drop in oil and base metals prices.

The financial services sector, down 2.4 percent, led the TSX lower while the energy sector fell 2.1 percent as the price of oil CLc1 fell to below $35 a barrel on demand concerns. [ID:nSYD417720]

Heavily-weighted stocks on the downside included Manulife Financial (MFC.TO), down 5 percent at C$18.41, and Sun Life Financial (SLF.TO), which dropped 3.9 percent at C$22.11.

Manulife reported a quarterly loss, hit by a jump in reserves and plummeting global stock markets. [ID:nN12442902] Sun Life quarterly profit dropped nearly 77 percent. [ID:nBNG408692]

In the oil patch, Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) fell 2.4 percent to C$42.10, while Suncor Energy (SU.TO) sank 3.2 percent to C$23.78.

The weakness continues to stem partly from the disappointment in U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s bank rescue plan, unveiled on Tuesday, said Paul Hand, managing director at RBC Capital Markets.

North American equity markets sold off immediately following Geithner’s announcement, with analysts saying the plan lacked detail.

“It’s like designing a house on the fly with no plans,” said Hand.

On Thursday, the financial services sector got extra pressure as results from the insurers weighed.

“They’re depressing but not unexpected given the products they sell that are linked to equity markets,” said Hand.

At 10:13 a.m. (1513 GMT), the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 108.61 points, or 1.24 percent, to 8,629.28, with seven of its 10 main groups lower.

Among individual names in the oil patch, Canada’s No. 1 oil and gas producer, EnCana Corp (ECA.TO), said quarterly operating profit slumped and it expects natural gas and oil prices to remain low at least through the first quarter of 2009. [ID:nBNG375064] EnCana fell 2.6 percent to C$51.74.

Canada’s No. 4 independent oil explorer Nexen Inc NXY.TO posted a quarterly loss, hurt by impairment charges and marketing losses. [nBNG159971] Nexen shares slumped 3.7 percent at C$16.79.

T-shirt maker Gildan Activewear Inc (GIL.TO), a top net loser on the market, said after the market close on Wednesday its quarterly profit fell sharply as demand for its products declined because of the worsening economy. [ID:nBNG440186] Gildan dropped 20.7 percent to C$9.95.

Heavily-weighted issues on the upside included Research in Motion RIM.TO, up 3.7 percent at C$62.20, and Barrick Gold (ABX.TO), which climbed 1.5 percent to C$48.66. ($1=$1.25 Canadian) (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)

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