CANADA STOCKS-TSX declines as oil prices, energy shares weaken

Mon Jan 19, 2015 11:06am EST
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* TSX down 44.75 points, or 0.31 percent, at 14,264.66

* Six of the 10 main index sectors decline

* Canadian Natural, Suncor drive weakness

By John Tilak and Alastair Sharp

TORONTO, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index eased on Monday as a decline in oil prices and concerns about the Chinese economy weighed on energy shares, which resumed their downward trend.

The Chinese premier said the country's economy faces significant downward pressure this year. Investors were also awaiting China's fourth-quarter gross domestic product report, due on Tuesday.

The benchmark TSX is down about 2.5 percent this year. The plunge in oil prices over the past six months, triggered by worries about excess supply, has been the biggest drag on both energy shares and Canada's benchmark equities index.

Oil prices were below the $50 mark on Monday, and they have lost about 55 percent of their value since June.

"We're in a period of high volatility and I think it's, for most people, unbearable," said Benoit Gervais, senior vice president and portfolio manager at Mackenzie Investments.   Continued...