TSX marks 4th straight loss as resources drag

Fri Jan 7, 2011 5:27pm EST
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By Solarina Ho

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index fell for a fourth straight session on Friday, extending its 2011 losses as lower commodity prices and a fire in the Alberta oil sands pulled down oil and other resource shares.

Oil company Canadian Natural Resources fell 5.47 percent to C$40.60 after a fire late on Thursday halted production at its 110,000-barrel-a-day oil sands project.

The energy group, which accounts for more than a quarter of the index, led declines, dropping 1.1 percent as U.S. crude oil futures ended the first week of the year with the biggest weekly percentage loss in nearly five months.

Suncor Energy, Canada's biggest oil company, was off 0.43 percent at C$36.98.

The index's materials group, home to gold miners, fell 0.64 percent. Goldcorp was down 1.02 percent at C$42.50, while Barrick Gold declined 0.77 percent to C$48.69.

Gold prices suffered their longest losing streak in seven months, sliding more than 3 percent this week and falling for a fifth day on Friday after U.S. December jobs data failed to spark safe-haven demand.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index ended down 39.37 points, or 0.3 percent, at 13,272.30. For the week, the index fell 1.27 percent.

"We're under a little bit of pressure today, but I don't think it's anything disastrous," said Fred Ketchen, director of equity trading at ScotiaMcLeod.   Continued...

<p>A Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) logo is seen in Toronto November 9, 2007. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>