CANADA STOCKS-Energy shares lead TSX to lower close

Tue Mar 24, 2009 4:58pm EDT
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* TSX falls 1.2 percent to 8,849.39

* Drop in oil rattles energy shares

* Financials hit by profit-taking (Adds details, comments, official numbers)

By Frank Pingue

TORONTO, March 24 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index finished more than 100 points lower on Tuesday as a slide in oil prices shook out some of the big gains the market recorded in the previous session, when it closed at a six-week high.

A day after the energy group helped power a rally of more than 5 percent, a drop in oil prices helped drag the TSX lower as upcoming data is expected to show an increase in crude stockpiles.

Shares of Suncor Energy SU.TO, the biggest weight on the index, fell 7.3 percent to C$28.50, while Canadian Natural Resources CNQ.TO shed 3.4 percent to C$51.18.

"It's a natural reaction to the extent of the move that we had yesterday," said Elvis Picardo, analyst and strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver. "And also, crude oil is down and commodity prices are modestly lower so that's affecting the TSX on the downside as well."

The energy group led all sectors lower with a 2.7 percent skid, followed by a 2 percent drop by the heavily weighted financials index. Seven of the TSX's 10 main sectors ended down.   Continued...