CANADA STOCKS-TSX lower as oil issues, Potash Corp fall

Mon Dec 22, 2008 11:09am EST
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* Energy issues slip 1.3 pct on brokerage price cuts

* Potash Corp drops 8.5 pct on analyst downgrade

* Gold-mining issues rise 0.8 pct (Adds details, quote)

TORONTO, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index was lower on Monday as analyst downgrades of key energy and fertilizer companies weighed on the resource-heavy market.

All of the TSX index's 10 main groups were lower. The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 181.14 points, or 2.1 percent, at 8,370.86.

"Certainly our commodity sectors are under pressure, and with the exception of gold, it's because of the price of the metals suffering," said Fred Ketchen, director of equity trading at ScotiaMcLeod.

The heavyweight energy sector was off 1.3 percent after brokerage Raymond James cut its share-price targets for a number of key oil companies. [nWNAB5090]

EnCana Corp (ECA.TO: Quote) was down 2.8 percent at C$52.40, and Petro-Canada PCA.TO dropped 3.3 percent to C$26.16.

Materials dropped despite firmer gold prices, as base metal prices fell and big fertilizer producer Potash Corp sank 8.5 percent to $81.22 after BMO Capital Markets lowered its stock price target to $115 from $145 [nWNAB5180].   Continued...