UPDATE 1-Toronto stocks slide as profit-taking sets in

Wed Jun 18, 2008 11:06am EDT
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(Updates to midmorning)

* TSX falls as investors lock in profits

* Fertilizer stocks taken lower after recent gains

TORONTO, June 18 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index slid on Wednesday, as profit-taking set in after recent strong gains, while energy shares edged higher even though the price of oil slid.

Fertilizer firms Agrium AGU.TO and Potash Corp of Saskatchewan POT.TO were stung as investors booked profits following recent interest in the wake of flooding in the U.S. Midwest, which has raised concerns of crop losses and pushed the price of corn to record highs.

Agrium eased 99 Canadian cents, or 0.9 percent, to C$112.01, but heavy-hitter Potash Corp was the biggest net loser, down C$3.22, or 1.3 percent, at C$240.81.

Keith Summers, chief investment officer at Stonegate Private Counsel, noted that some profit-taking was inevitable after the benchmark climbed to a record close on Tuesday.

"But it underlies the fact that the momentum for the Toronto market continues to be positive," Summers added.

After wavering around the break-even mark early on, the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE gave up 52.25 points, or 0.35 percent, at 15,016.58 at midmorning with eight of its 10 main sectors lower.   Continued...