CANADA STOCKS-Oil pushes TSX lower, U.S. data weighs

Fri Nov 14, 2008 11:29am EST
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* Energy group leads way lower, oil drops below $57

* U.S. consumer mood rises, briefly helps TSX cut losses

* CanWest nears 52-week low as company reports steep loss

* Weekend G20 talks on global financial crisis in focus

TORONTO, Nov 14 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index dropped nearly 3 percent on Friday on a slide in oil prices and on gloomy U.S. retail sales data that outweighed an unexpected rise in U.S. consumer sentiment.

The energy sector was the main source of weakness in the index, dragged lower as the price of oil dropped below $57 a barrel. [ID:nN14433824] The materials group was off 2.7 percent, helped by declines in issues such as Agrium (AGU.TO: Quote), down 7.4 percent at C$40.50, and Kinross Gold (K.TO: Quote), down about 3 percent at C$16.43.

Potash Corp (POT.TO: Quote), which saw union workers ratify a new three-year contract offer at three of the company's Saskatchewan mines, was down 3.7 percent at C$86.53.

U.S. consumer sentiment improved in November, according to a Reuters/University of Michigan report, as tumbling gasoline prices offset worries about unemployment and recession. [ID:nN14303681

The surprise reading helped alleviate briefly the worst fears of investors stunned by an earlier report showing a record decline in U.S. retail sales last month.[ID:nN14423234]   Continued...