TSX dips as China worries hit oils, materials

Mon Mar 15, 2010 5:33pm EDT
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By John McCrank

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index ended slightly lower on Monday as its energy and materials sectors fell on worries that credit tightening in China could sap demand for Canada's resources, outweighing a late-session rally in financial issues.

Some of the bigger decliners of the day were Canadian Natural Resources, down 2 percent at C$73.22, Suncor Energy, down 2.5 percent at C$31.04, and Cenovus Energy, which fell 1.8 percent to C$26.00.

Overall, the index's heavily weighted oil and gas group dropped 1.3 percent as the price of oil fell nearly 2 percent to below $80 a barrel.

China's central bank is expected to tighten its monetary policy as early as this week to temper its red-hot economy, spurring concern about the effect that could have on the global economy.

Profit-taking also played a role in the slide in the energy sector, said Bruce Latimer, a trader at Dundee Securities.

"(The price of oil) broke down below $80 and that triggered a little bit of selling," he said.

The index's materials group, home to miners and fertilizer companies, dropped 0.4 percent as Potash Corp of Saskatchewan fell 0.4 percent to C$127.51, and Teck Resources lost 1.4 percent to C$41.00.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index closed down 5.02 points, or 0.04 percent, at 12,008.80. The index's close above 12,000 on Friday was its highest finish in about 18 months.   Continued...