CANADA STOCKS-TSX takes breather following 3-day rally

Tue Mar 22, 2011 4:27pm EDT
 
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   * TSX ends down 13.70 points or 0.1 pct, at 14,000
 * Four of TSX's 10 main groups lower
 * Energy stocks down 0.5 pct, materials off 0.4 pct
 (Updates to close, adds details, quotes)
 By Claire Sibonney
 TORONTO, March 22 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
ended slightly lower on Tuesday, after a three-day rise, as
weighty commodity issues gave back some recent gains and many
traders kept to the sidelines amid political uncertainty
overseas and at home.
 The energy sector was down 0.5 percent after finishing up
1.61 percent on Monday, while the materials group, home to
mining companies, was down 0.4 percent -- despite higher prices
for oil and base metals.
 Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote) slid 0.6 percent to
C$48.44, while Canadian Oil Sands COS.TO fell 1.7 percent to
C$31.49.
 Fertilizer giant Potash Corp (POT.TO: Quote) was down 1.3 percent
at C$53.97 and Teck Resources (TCKb.TO: Quote) shed 1.5 percent to
C$52.07.
 "Stock markets here and south of the border are actually
fairly quiet today. We've had a little bit of action here the
last couple days, and yesterday we had a nice up day," said
John Kurgan, senior market strategist at Lind-Waldock Canada.
 "Pretty much market makers on the floor and investors in
general just kind of sitting on their hands, waiting," he added
noting lighter than average volumes.
 The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
.GSPTSE ended down 13.70 points or 0.1 percent, at 14,000,
giving back some of Monday's 1.62 percent gain.
 Four of the TSX's 10 main groups were lower. Financial
stocks helped cushion the decline, rising 0.2 percent. Bank of
Nova Scotia (BNS.TO: Quote) was up 1 percent at C$59.21.
 Gold-mining shares were also firmer, rising 0.5 percent,
with Agnico Eagle (AEM.TO: Quote) up 0.6 percent at C$66.23.
 Events in Canada and overseas continued to weigh on market
sentiment and kept many investors playing wait-and-see.
 U.S. President Barack Obama won British and French support
for a NATO role in the air campaign against Libya's Muammar
Gaddafi as coalition forces thrashed out operational details
aimed at transferring U.S. control of the mission.
[ID:nN22512993]
 Meanwhile, Japan continued to battle a quake-crippled
nuclear plant as radiation fears grew. [ID:nL3E7EL23A]
 In domestic politics, the minority Conservative government
presented its budget after the market closed at 4 p.m. (2000
GMT), pledging to slice the deficit by a quarter this year and
return to surplus in 2015.
 The budget offered a host of treats to opposition parties
in the hope of winning their support and avoiding an election.
[ID:nCFB004022]
 ($1=$0.98 Canadian)
 (Additional reporting by Solarina Ho; editing by Rob Wilson)