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

Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:26am EST
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TORONTO Dec 22 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index was lower on Monday morning as analyst downgrades of key energy and fertilizer companies weighed on the resource-heavy market.

Research In Motion RIM.TO was also lower after it said it planned to oppose Certicom Corp's CIC.TO attempts to prevent RIM from acquiring it in a C$66 million ($54.8 million) deal. [nBNG297439]. The information technology group was down 0.9 percent, with RIM off 3.8 percent at C$51.35.

Overall, nine of the TSX index's 10 main groups were lower.

At 10 a.m. (1500 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 123.97 points, or 1.5 percent, at 8,428.03.

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.

EnCana Corp (ECA.TO: Quote) was down 1.2 percent at C$53.25 and Petro-Canada PCA.TO dropped 1.9 percent to C$26.54.

Materials issues rose on the back of firm gold-mining shares, despite an analyst downgrade of Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (POT.TO: Quote), the world's biggest fertilizer producer.

Barrick Gold (ABX.TO: Quote), the world's biggest gold producer, rose 7.9 percent to C$22.75, and Kinross Gold (K.TO: Quote) rose 7.6 percent to C$17.75 as the price for bullion climbed to $848.30 an ounce.

Potash Corp dropped 4.8 percent to $84.44 after BMO Capital Markets lowered its stock price target to $115 from $145. ($1=$1.21 Canadian) (Reporting by Scott Anderson; editing by Peter Galloway)