TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index ended in the red on Tuesday as investors fretted anew about prospects for global growth, pushing down oil and gas companies and other resource-based shares, but Blackberry maker Research In Motion Ltd RIM.TO jumped after it released solid subscriber numbers.
The eight heaviest weights on the resource-rich Toronto index were all energy or mining companies. Banking stocks rose in morning trade, but they also retreated and closed lower.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended down 56.36 points, or 0.46 percent, at 12,257.18. On Monday it dropped 70 points, and has now declined in each of the last four sessions.
The index's fall came despite gains in copper and other base-metals prices as investors focused on signs that economic recovery is not assured despite the recent monetary policy easing undertaken by several major central banks.
"Equities as a group tend to move with broader-based macro-economic signals," said Patricia Mohr, vice president, economics, and commodity market specialist at Scotiabank.
"So if investors are worried about global economic growth...then sometimes equities can actually underperform where commodities prices are," she said, referring to a similar historical disconnect between the rising price of bullion and the lagging performance of gold miners.
Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO) dropped 1.7 percent to C$32.23, while fellow oil company Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (CNQ.TO) lost 1.7 percent to C$30.94. Cenovus Energy Inc (CVE.TO) slipped 1.7 percent to C$33.94 and Encana Corp (ECA.TO) fell 1.9 percent to C$21.47.
Diversified miner Teck Resources fell 1.8 percent to C$28.94, while major bullion producer Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) lost 0.4 percent to C$40.27 and competitor Goldcorp (G.TO) dipped 0.5 percent to C$43.88.
The lack of a solid rising trend in commodity prices could turn away some investors from now on, a fund manager warned.
"With the direction for commodity prices being less certain, the index will be less certain. The general trend for both gold and oil will be higher but will not lead the market," said Brendan Caldwell, president and chief executive of Caldwell Investment Management.
"Unless the U.S. dollar completely collapses and gold and oil go on an unholy tear, which is possible, I think they'll do well, but other sectors will outperform and we don't have very much of it in our index," he added, warning that the TSX may struggle to keep up with global peers with deeper exposure to sectors such as technology and consumer discretionary companies.
Shares in Research In Motion, one of the index's few technology companies, surged 5.2 percent to C$6.50 after the struggling BlackBerry maker said its subscriber base has risen to 80 million from the 78 million it reported earlier this year, surprising many on Wall Street who were anticipating a dip.
Husky Energy Inc (HSE.TO) slipped 0.3 percent to C$26.52 after the integrated oil producer and refiner declared it had reached an impasse with the United Steelworkers union in a four-month strike at the company's 155,000 barrel-per-day Lima, Ohio, refinery.
Shares in Forbes & Manhattan Coal Corp FMC.TO jumped 3.1 percent to 67 Canadian cents after the coal miner said it plans to buy two South African mines from a unit of Rio Tinto in a bid to boost its output and enlarge its footprint in Africa.
Editing by Carol Bishopric; and Peter Galloway