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: Quote), 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: Quote) may post yearly losses and cut its dividend.   Continued...