TSX ends lower as financials, Potash Corp fall

Mon Sep 21, 2009 5:13pm EDT
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By Frank Pingue

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index rallied off a one-week low but still closed lower for a third straight session on Monday as investors avoided commitments ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting later this week.

The index's heavily weighted financials group led the latest slide as investors opted to avoid big positions, possibly until Wednesday, when the Fed's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is expected to hold interest rates unchanged at near zero percent.

Shares of insurer Manulife Financial, the biggest drag on the index, closed down 1.8 percent to C$22.37, while Toronto-Dominion Bank fell 0.9 percent to C$67.95.

The index's fall was limited as some big energy stocks pushed higher on hopes of higher prices for oil and natural gas down the road.

Canadian Natural Resources rose 2.4 percent to C$73.92, while Imperial Oil ended the session up 2 percent at C$41.34.

The S&P/TSX composite index ended down 21.34 points, or 0.19 percent, at 11,424.61. Seven of the TSX's 10 sectors ended lower.

Shortly after the session started, the TSX fell 1 percent to 11,329.50, its lowest level since September 14. It subsequently rallied off that low but never entered positive territory.

"There's no conviction but that's quite typical when you have something else as critical as the FOMC news later this week," said Elvis Picardo, analyst and strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.   Continued...

<p>People walk by a Bay Street sign inside the financial district in Toronto October 10, 2008. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>