UPDATE 3-Toronto stocks battered by profit-taking

Wed May 21, 2008 5:16pm EDT
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* Late-day retreat takes TSX more than 250 points lower

* Biggest one-day drop since end of April

* Energy stocks hit by profit-taking

By Leah Schnurr

TORONTO, May 21 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index ended a volatile session more than 250 points lower on Wednesday, as profit-taking hit energy issues, sparking a broad late-day selloff following recent record highs.

After pushing higher earlier in the day, oil and gas companies reversed direction, even though crude prices hit a record over $133 a barrel on an unexpected drop in U.S. stockpiles.

The energy group, whose heavy weighting has been largely responsible for the index's recent run-up, lost 1.5 percent.

"It looks like there's some profit-taking starting in the oils," said Lex Kerkovius, senior research analyst at McLean & Partners Wealth Management Ltd. in Calgary.   Continued...