* TSX ends down 146.66 points, or 1.04 pct, at 13,892.73
* All 10 main groups lower
* Materials, energy lead decline (Adds details, quotes)
By Claire Sibonney
TORONTO, March 28 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index tumbled more than 1 percent on Monday to a one-week low as commodity prices sank from recent lofty levels, driving down heavyweight energy and mining issues.
The materials sector, home to mining companies, finished down 1.8 percent while oil and gas stocks were off 1.3 percent. Combined, the two sectors make up about half of the TSX’s composite index.
Among influential decliners, Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) dipped 1.5 percent to C$49.74, while Agnico Eagle (AEM.TO) dropped 2.6 percent to C$64.65. Suncor Energy (SU.TO) was down 1.8 percent at C$43.33 and Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) lost 2 percent to C$46.81.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended down 146.66 points, or 1.04 percent, at 3,892.73, its weakest close since March 21. All of the index’s 10 main groups finished in the red, including financials, down 0.5 percent.
Comments last Friday by Federal Reserve officials that the U.S. central bank would have to raise interest rates in the “not-too-distant future” to avoid inflation helped pressure oil and gold prices, as did and easing worries about unrest in the Middle East and North Africa. [GOL/] [O/R] [ID:nL3E7ES07Y]
As well, copper suffered its biggest one-day loss in about three weeks on concerns about softness in Chinese demand and rising inventory levels. Diversified miner Teck Resources TCKb.TO slid 2.2 percent to C$51.50. [MET/L]
Fertilizer companies were also hit, with Potash Corp (POT.TO) falling 1.5 percent to C$55.26.
“Investors are totally geared to having the Fed sit on the sidelines in terms of rate hikes, and anything that causes a change in that scenario could have a detrimental impact on equity markets,” said Elvis Picardo, an analyst and strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.
Hopes that the Libyan situation will get resolved sooner rather than later contributed to weigh on commodity prices, he said.
“The market is in a transitionary period here and trying to digest all this uncertainty in news,” said Peter Chandler, senior vice-president and director at Canaccord Wealth Management.
Picardo added that investors were likely squaring positions ahead of the month and quarter end later this week, though the market could also see some last-minute buying, which is usually the case.
“There’s been no shortage of risk factors that investors have been fixated upon ... also you’re just a month way from this typical period when equities really start to slow down in earnest, and that’s the May to October period,” he said.
In individual company news, shares of Lululemon Athletica LLL.TO jumped almost 8 percent to C$83.32 after stock pundit Jim Cramer praised the Canadian yoga-wear retailer on his Mad Money show on CNBC on Friday. The company announced two-for-one stock split after the market close. [ID:nN28207842] [ID:nASA01TV3]
($1=$0.98 Canadian) (Reporting by Claire Sibonney; editing by Rob Wilson)