CANADA STOCKS-TSX ends lower on weak oils, financials

Thu Jan 22, 2009 5:46pm EST
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* Financials slump, Manulife biggest influence on downside

* Late oil price rise fails to lift energy issues

* TSX retreat follows Wednesday's 3 percent gain

* Potash gains, but forecasts weaker than expected (Adds details, comments)

By Ka Yan Ng

TORONTO, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index slumped more than 3 percent on Thursday, driven lower by weakness in energy and financial shares, while economic news reinforced a sour tone.

The energy sector led the broad decline as the price of oil, a key Canadian export, turned lower as a U.S. government report showed crude supplies rose more than expected. Although the price recovered on U.S. stimulus hopes, shares of most Canadian oil companies remained in negative territory.

Financial issues were another big drag on the overall index, partly because of ongoing concerns about the health of the global financial system and as a series of large U.S. regional banks revealed rising credit losses led to lower fourth-quarter earnings.

Energy and financials, which make up more than half the index's weighting, saw their biggest issues lead the way down. Among the key stocks falling were EnCana Corp (ECA.TO: Quote), Canada's biggest energy company, which was down 4.5 percent at C$52.75.   Continued...