Stocks fall, overpowered by profit-taking

Fri May 23, 2008 5:32pm EDT
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By Leah Schnurr

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index trimmed some earlier losses but still ended lower on Friday, knocked down as investors locked in profits following the index's recent surge to record highs.

Resource shares stumbled even though oil and gold prices pushed higher. Potash Corp of Saskatchewan POT.TO was among the biggest decliners by weight, giving up C$2.40, or 1.2 percent, to C$194.40, while in the oil patch, Canadian Natural Resources CNQ.TO was down C$1.48, or 1.5 percent, at


The energy and materials sectors slid 0.6 percent and 0.5 percent respectively. The subindex of gold producers, which had managed to hold on to gains earlier in the week, dipped 0.1 percent. Barrick Gold ABX.TO was off 42 Canadian cents, or 1 percent, at C$41.53.

"I think we had a nice rally over the last two or three months, which has pulled back a little bit, (but) I think we've seen that happen globally," said Paul Harris, portfolio manager at Avenue Investment Management.

"Toronto has held in reasonably well because of oil and resources, as usual. That's really been the impetus that's helped it out over the last little while."

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 69.00 points, or 0.47 percent, at 14,723.36 with all but three of its 10 sectors dropping. It was down 1.7 percent for the week, which was shortened by the Victoria Day holiday on Monday.

The Toronto benchmark has climbed since late March, emboldened by red-hot commodity prices and optimism that the worst of the credit crunch fallout has been seen. The index vaulted over the 15,000 mark for the first time earlier in the week.   Continued...