Toronto stocks led lower by weak resources

Tue Sep 23, 2008 5:42pm EDT
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By Leah Schnurr

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index ended a choppy session lower on Tuesday, dragged down by resource shares that fell with commodity prices, while uncertainty continued to surround the U.S. bailout proposal.

Companies tied to oil, gold and other commodities slid, with the heavyweight energy and materials sectors providing the lion's share of losses on worries of slowing global growth and demand for resources.

In the oil patch, Canadian Oil Sands Trust was down 4.3 percent at C$41.54, while fertilizer firm Potash Corp of Saskatchewan tumbled 9.7 percent to C$167.80.

Uncertainty over the shape and outcome of the $700 billion financial sector bailout in the United States added volatility to the market as U.S. lawmakers heard testimony on the plan through the day.

But Toronto's financial sector pushed higher as investors saw optimism in the performance of the Canadian banks compared with their U.S. peers.

"(Canadian banks) did get beat up a bit and I think the feeling is that the Canadian financials may be divorced a bit from what's happening to U.S. financials," said John Kinsey, portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities Ltd.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 105.44 points, or 0.83 percent, at 12,532.63 with six of its 10 main sectors falling. The index traded in a more than 300-point range from peak to trough during the day.

The financial sector led the upside, rising 2.1 percent, with Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce up 3 percent at C$62.27, and Bank of Nova Scotia gaining 3.3 percent to C$49.38.   Continued...