TSX shaken lower by energy and bank shares

Thu Dec 17, 2009 4:34pm EST
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By Frank Pingue

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index fell on Thursday as oil companies and gold miners tripped over lower prices for commodities, while bank shares fell after earnings estimates for U.S. banks were trimmed by an influential bank analyst.

Suncor Energy, the main drag on the index, checked out of the session 3.6 percent lower at C$36.55, while Goldcorp shares slid 4.8 percent to C$40.00.

Energy shares were dragged down by a near 1 percent fall in oil prices after a two-day rise, while shares of gold miners were hit by a 3 percent drop in bullion prices.

Canadian bank shares fell in sympathy with their U.S. peers after influential bank analyst Meredith Whitney cut earnings estimates for Goldman Sachs Group and Morgan Stanley for 2010 and 2011.

Shares of Toronto-Dominion Bank slid 1 percent to C$64.20, while Royal Bank of Canada ended down 0.6 percent at C$54.94.

The S&P/TSX composite index ended down 163.98 points, or 1.41 percent, at 11,473.06, wiping out all of Wednesday's 96-point advance.

The bulk of the TSX's latest pullback, its third in the past six sessions, came within the first 30 minutes of the session before the index slipped into a relatively tight range for the remainder of the day.

"It just seems like there are not a lot of players out there and people are making their bets early in the day," said Bruce Latimer, trader at Dundee Securities. "As the markets come off there are sometimes buyers at lower levels but we're not seeing a whole lot of that here today."   Continued...

<p>People walk by a sign displaying TSX information in Toronto September 19, 2008. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>