UPDATE 2-Toronto stocks dip as weak resources drag

Thu Aug 14, 2008 4:37pm EDT
 
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(Updates closing numbers, adds details, quotes)

*TSX index edges lower as commodities fall

*Drop in commodity prices boosts wider market

*Sleep Country jumps after private equity bid

TORONTO, Aug 14 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index closed slightly lower on Thursday as easing commodity prices weighed on resource shares, but provided a boost for the wider market.

A drop to $115 a barrel for oil weighed on the heavyweight energy sector amid worries over the prospects for global demand growth. Among laggards in the group, Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote) slid 2 percent.

The materials sector, home to resource shares, also fell, hurt by gold producers that dropped with bullion prices. Agnico-Eagle Resources (AEM.TO: Quote) was off 5.4 percent.

The lower commodity prices helped strengthen the broader market as they eased anxiety over the impact of soaring prices on the consumer and the economy. A rise in financial services helped put a floor under the index. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO: Quote) gained 1.3 percent.

"People viewed the commodity headwinds as just so severe that any time you get a pullback in the commodities, the market will try to make some headway," said Lex Kerkovius, senior research analyst at McLean & Partners Wealth Management Ltd, in Calgary. Alberta.   Continued...