Toronto stocks give up gains on profit-taking

Mon Apr 28, 2008 5:26pm EDT
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By Leah Schnurr

TORONTO (Reuters) - Gains on the Toronto Stock Exchange fizzled out on Monday, and the main index closed 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 of a new high near $120 a barrel in the wake of supply outages.

Petro-Canada PCA.TO was 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.

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 risen more than 100 points earlier in the day.

Analysts said investors were taking the opportunity to consolidate positions and lock in some profits, 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. Potash fell C$14.80, or 7 percent, to C$195.60, and Agrium was down C$5.94, or 6.6 percent, at C$84.36.   Continued...

<p>A Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) logo is seen in Toronto November 9, 2007. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>