TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index fell on Wednesday as the slide in crude oil prices hit energy stocks and weighed on other shares, but volume was light ahead of the New Year’s Day holiday on Friday.
Crude oil prices tumbled following a surprise build in U.S. stockpiles. U.S. crude CLc1 prices settled at $36.60 a barrel, down 3.4 percent. [O/R]
“Oil is down over a dollar and that has put all the stocks down,” said John Kinsey, portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities.
Suncor Energy Inc SU.TO fell 1.9 percent to C$35.78, while Canadian Natural Resources Ltd CNQ.TO was down 2.6 percent at C$30.32.
Enbridge Inc ENB.TO fell 1.1 percent to C$45.58. The company said on Tuesday it has halted operations on its Ozark pipeline due to flooding along the Mississippi River.
The overall energy group fell 2.5 percent.
The slide in crude oil prices has also been a headwind for bank stocks amid concerns about possible writedowns on energy loans.
“I think people are still worried about the energy loans that the banks have on their books,” said Kinsey.
Bank of Nova Scotia BNS.TO fell 0.8 percent to C$57.70, while Toronto-Dominion Bank TD.TO was down 0.6 percent at C$55.01.
The overall financial services sector fell 0.6 percent.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 103.34 points, or 0.78 percent, to 13,142.41, its lowest close in more than a week.
The index made a nearly three-week peak on Dec. 24 at 13,344.18.
Of the index’s 10 main groups, nine were in negative territory.
The materials group fell 1.3 percent, including a 2.3 percent drop in Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO to C$10.25.
Spot gold XAU= fell 0.7 percent. Bullion has lost almost 10 percent of its value this year, largely on concerns that higher U.S. interest rates would hurt demand for the non-yielding asset.
Telus Corp T.TO fell 0.7 percent to C$38.91. The company signed a deal with the country’s Competition Bureau to give its wireless customers up to C$7.34 million ($5.27 million) in rebates after the competition watchdog found some Telus promotions misleading.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc VRX.TO rebounded after falling sharply at the start of the week on news its chief executive officer, Michael Pearson, is taking medical leave. The stock rose 1.2 percent to C$141.89.
Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Tom Brown