UPDATE 3-Toronto stocks slide as resource issues tumble

Wed Apr 23, 2008 4:33pm EDT
 
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(Updates official closing numbers, adds details)

TORONTO, April 23 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index skidded nearly 200 points on Wednesday as falling bullion prices took the luster out of gold-mining stocks, and the energy sector was stung by profit-taking.

Shares of energy and resource companies led the way down, with Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM.TO: Quote) sliding C$3.95, or 5.7 percent, to C$65.25 and Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote) giving up C$5.07, or 4.2 percent, at C$116.00.

Overall, the gold subindex shed 3.5 percent and helped take 3.2 percent off its larger materials sector, while bullion was pressured by the U.S. dollar's rise.

The oil and gas sector gave up 1.8 percent as investors locked in profits after the recent steep advance of crude prices. Oil was up 23 cents at $118.30 a barrel amid a decline in gasoline stocks.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 196.54 points, or 1.38 percent, at 14,069.80 with seven of its 10 main sectors in a downturn.

Also hurting the resource-laden materials group were declines by big fertilizer companies. Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (POT.TO: Quote) fell C$8.80, or 4.1 percent, to C$206.50, and Agrium (AGU.TO: Quote) sagged C$4.80, or 5.2 percent, to C$88.25 respectively.

Lundin Mining Corp (LUN.TO: Quote) fell 27 Canadian cents, or 3.5 percent, to C$7.50 after it said the projected cost of developing its Tenke copper-cobalt joint venture with Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX.N: Quote) has risen to about $1.75 billion, nearly double last year's estimate.

Elsewhere, shares of Aastra Technologies AAH.TO were down C$4.16, or 13.8 percent, at C$26.00 a day after the business communications company reported a drop in first-quarter profit, due in part to weaker European sales.   Continued...