* TSX ends down 8.09 points, or 0.05 percent, at 15,172.24
* Seven of 10 main index sectors advance
By John Tilak
TORONTO, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index ended little changed on Friday as a drop in bank shares ahead of their earnings season helped offset a gain in shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc.
Bearish sentiment gained momentum as Canadian banks prepared to reported quarterly results next week. Sluggish retail sales data also weighed.
Further, a decline in the energy sector, following weakness in the price of oil , put pressure on the market.
“It’s going to take many months for the broader implications of the oil price collapse to play out,” said Elvis Picardo, strategist and vice president of research at Global Securities in Vancouver.
“For the time being, we’re going to see volatility in crude oil prices and energy producers,” he added.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index closed down 8.09 points, or 0.05 percent, at 15,172.24. Seven of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.
Financials, the index’s most heavily weighted sector, slipped. Royal Bank of Canada dropped 1.6 percent to C$76.01, and Bank of Montreal lost 0.8 percent to C$77.89.
Among shares of energy producers, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd gave back 1.4 percent to C$37.50.
Investors pushed up shares of Valeant after a report said the company is close to a $10.2 billion deal to acquire drugmaker Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Valeant’s stock added 2.9 percent to C$217.41. (Editing by James Dalgleish)