UPDATE 2-Toronto stocks slide on resources, banks

Wed Jun 18, 2008 12:30pm EDT
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(Updates to midday)

* Energy stocks turn and retreat with oil price

* Financials sag on renewed U.S. banking worries

* Profit-taking weighs on fertilizer companies

TORONTO, June 18 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index was lower at midday on Wednesday, as energy and other resource issues fell while oil prices retreated.

The large financial sector also dragged the index lower as it was caught up in more fallout from the credit crunch and banking woes from south of the border.

Among the biggest decliners by weight, fertilizer companies Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (POT.TO: Quote) and Agrium (AGU.TO: Quote) slid following recent gains after the farmland in the U.S. Midwest was hit by severe flooding, pushing up corn prices.

"Maybe it's the fact that it's stopped raining finally in the Midwest and you can't keep ratcheting up your expectations for how much fertilizer is going to be used," said Gavin Graham, chief investment officer at Guardian Group of Funds, noting that some profit-taking could be in play.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 94.53 points, or 0.63 percent, at 14,974.30 with all but two of its 10 main sectors lower.   Continued...