CANADA STOCKS-TSX 8-day rally halted as energy shares tumble

Fri Mar 20, 2009 4:21pm EDT
 
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* TSX falls 184.14 points to 8,506.35

* Energy and financials lead TSX down

* First lower close since March 9 (Adds details, comments and official numbers)

By Frank Pingue

TORONTO, March 20 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index sputtered on Friday, closing lower for the first time in almost two weeks, as a fall in oil prices rattled energy shares while the financials cooled further after a massive surge.

Energy shares fell alongside a drop in the price of oil, a key Canadian export, and helped pull the rug from under the TSX after it gained about 15 percent during its recent rally.

Shares of Suncor Energy SU.TO, the key drag on the index, dropped 7.5 percent to close at C$30.90, while Talisman Energy TLM.TO shares fell 6.8 percent to C$13.00.

"Oil is down and we're also seeing a lot of profit taking coming in," said Michael Sprung, president at Sprung & Co. Investment Counsel. "But after so many higher sessions I think something like this was expected."

Financials shares, which had a staggering 29 percent rally over seven sessions heading into Thursday, continued to shed value in the latest session after a brokerage said American Express AXP.N may post yearly losses and cut its dividend.   Continued...