Toronto stocks battered by profit-taking

Wed May 21, 2008 5:18pm EDT
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By Leah Schnurr

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index ended a volatile session more than 250 points lower on Wednesday, as profit-taking hit energy issues, sparking a broad late-day selloff following recent record highs.

After pushing higher earlier in the day, oil and gas companies reversed direction, even though crude prices hit a record over $133 a barrel on an unexpected drop in U.S. stockpiles.

The energy group, whose heavy weighting has been largely responsible for the index's recent run-up, lost 1.5 percent.

"It looks like there's some profit-taking starting in the oils," said Lex Kerkovius, senior research analyst at McLean & Partners Wealth Management Ltd. in Calgary.

"Some of these oils that were really running hard are coming off from the morning," he said

"When you get that kind of rise in commodities -- fast, furious, quick -- everyone wants to take some (money) off the table."

Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote) was down C$1.43, or 1.4 percent, at C$103.93, while Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote) slipped C$1.39, or 1.9 percent, to C$70.98.

Talisman Energy TLM.TO was down C$1.25, or 5 percent, at C$23.65 a day after it unveiled a significant revamp of its global oil and gas business, as well as an asset sale.   Continued...

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