(Adds analyst comment, economic data, updates price action)
* TSX down 51.25 points, or 0.36 percent, at 14,226.63
* Seven of the TSX’s 10 main groups fall
By Alastair Sharp
TORONTO, Aug 17 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index was in retreat on Monday, with heavyweight energy and banking stocks among the worst performers as oil prices fell and data from Japan and New York disappointed.
Gold miners were among the biggest gainers, as investors took more defensive positions amid economic uncertainty.
“We are getting some defensive capital flows again and some of that is going back into gold, with people getting worried about economies in China and Japan and even in Europe,” said Colin Cieszynski, a senior market analyst at CMC Markets Canada.
Japan’s economy shrank in the second quarter as exports fell and consumers cut back on spending, data showed.
Manufacturing activity in New York state plunged in August to its weakest since 2009.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 51.25 points, or 0.36 percent, at 14,226.63 by 11:01 a.m. (1501 GMT).
”It’s interesting because after materials, the next three sectors in terms of performance today on the TSX are healthcare,
telecom and utilities, which are the defensive sectors,” Cieszynski said.
The most influential movers on the index were Royal Bank of Canada, which fell 1.2 percent to C$75.05, and Toronto-Dominion Bank, which declined 0.9 percent to C$51.43. Bank of Nova Scotia lost 1 percent to C$60.85, and the overall financials group retreated 1.0 percent.
The energy sector fell 1.4 percent, as U.S. crude prices slipped 0.6 percent to $42.26 a barrel, while Brent crude added 0.2 percent to $49.29.
Gold futures rose 0.5 percent to $1,118.3 an ounce.
Gold miners were among the strongest gainers, with Goldcorp Inc up 2.5 percent to C$19.14 and Barrick Gold Corp advanced 1.9 percent to C$10.26.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers by 170 to 72, for a 2.36-to-1 ratio on the downside. The index posted two new 52-week highs and 18 new lows. (Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by James Dalgleish)