UPDATE 2-Profit-taking drags Toronto stocks lower

Mon Apr 28, 2008 4:43pm EDT
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(Updates official closing numbers, adds details, quotes)

TORONTO, April 28 (Reuters) - Gains on the Toronto Stock Exchange fizzled out on Monday, sending the main index slightly lower on profit-taking, following a strong run-up spurred by record high oil prices.

The energy sector, which earlier rose by as much as 1.4 percent, finished up just 0.2 percent as crude eased back from yet another new high near $120 a barrel in the wake of supply outages.

On Bay Street, the group was mixed, with Petro-Canada PCA.TO up 81 Canadian cents, or 1.6 percent, at C$50.13, while Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote) was down C$1.77, or 1.5 percent, at C$115.50.

Also in the oil patch, Synenco Energy SYN.TO climbed C$1.18, or 15.2 percent, to C$8.97 after French oil major Total (TOTF.PA: Quote) said it had agreed to buy the Canadian company for about C$480 million.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 18.02 points, or 0.13 percent, at 14,085.85 but the resource-laden materials sector was the only group on the downside. The benchmark had gained more than 100 points earlier in the day.

Analysts said investors were taking the opportunity to consolidate positions and lock in some profit, particularly after the nearly 140-point gain the index saw on Friday.

"Some of these things have been so strong, that the temptation is there to lock in some profits," said Fred Ketchen, director of equity trading at ScotiaMcLeod.

Fertilizer companies Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (POT.TO: Quote) and Agrium (AGU.TO: Quote) were among the biggest decliners by weight, falling C$14.80, or 7 percent, to C$195.60, and C$5.94, or 6.6 percent, to C$84.36 respectively.   Continued...