CANADA STOCKS-TSX slips as commodities lose steam

Fri Apr 16, 2010 10:39am EDT
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* TSX down 34.68 points at 12,176.84.

* Energy, materials drag index lower

By Claire Sibonney

TORONTO, April 16 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index fell on Friday morning, pushed lower by a dip in commodity prices as investor concern about the outlook for global demand hit resource shares.

Oil prices fell below $85 a barrel as doubts over U.S. crude demand re-emerged and the U.S. dollar strengthened, making imports more expensive for emerging economies where consumption is surging. [O/R]

The energy sector was set back 0.9 percent as Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO: Quote), Canada's biggest oil company, dropped 1.5 percent to C$34.28 and EnCana Corp (ECA.TO: Quote), the country's largest natural gas producer, fell 1.1 percent to C$31.60.

Athabasca Oil Sands Corp (ATH.TO: Quote) was off 0.6 percent at C$14.52, continuing a slide that began when it went public at C$18 a share a week ago. Some portfolio managers attribute the decline to an overhang in stock issued before it debuted on the TSX.

"There is a huge overhang of stock from people who had bought Athabasca Oil Sands as a private company," said a portfolio manager who did not participate in the IPO.

"Those people have been there for a few years, so they are likely sellers."   Continued...