UPDATE 2-Toronto stocks falter as oil price drops

Thu Jul 31, 2008 5:09pm EDT
 
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(Updates closing numbers, adds details)

* TSX falls as resource issues weigh

* Sun Life sags as profit hit by U.S. operations

* Rothmans up after bid from Philip Morris

TORONTO, July 31 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index fell on Thursday, sliding late in the session as energy and other resource issues were knocked lower by a drop in oil prices.

The materials sector followed energy stocks lower as gold producers gave up earlier gains. Goldcorp (G.TO: Quote) lost 4.3 percent after it reported an unexpected quarterly loss and said to will buy Gold Eagle Mines GEA.TO for about C$1.5 billion.

Weak U.S. economic data underlined worries about dampening fuel demand and sent oil down $2.69 to settle at $124.08 a barrel. The retreat helped knock 3.1 percent off Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote).

Sun Life Financial (SLF.TO: Quote) was one of the biggest drags by weight, falling 6.1 percent after reporting its profit took a hit from weak results at its U.S. insurance and asset-management businesses.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 90.30 points, or 0.66 percent, at 13,592.91, but just three of its 10 main sectors were on the downside, with the bulk of the losses coming from the energy and materials sectors.   Continued...