TSX suffers largest drop since February as oil slides

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index posted its largest drop since February on Friday, falling to a one-week low as energy stocks tumbled with oil prices and global equity markets broadly moved lower.

A man walks past an old Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) sign in Toronto, June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

The index ended 1.3 percent lower for the week after having touched on Wednesday its highest in nearly 10 months at 14,450.91.

“A large part (of the sell-off) has to do with profit taking,” said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier.

Concern that low bond yields are signaling deflation has contributed to negative sentiment, while trend following investors sold stocks as the market turned lower, Nakamoto added.

The energy group tumbled 3.8 percent as oil slipped from 2016 highs hit earlier in the week. U.S. crude oil futures CLc1 settled $1.49 lower at $49.07 a barrel. [O/R]

Canadian Natural Resources CNQ.TO declined 3.9 percent to C$36.61. The company and Cenovus Energy CVE.TO both said they had restarted operations at oil sands facilities in Alberta on Thursday after a wildfire threat dissipated.

Suncor Energy Inc SU.TO fell 2.3 percent to C$34.38.

The financials group slipped 1 percent, with Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO down nearly 1 percent at C$78.57 and Bank of Nova Scotia BNS.TO off 1.6 percent at C$65.25.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 202.48 points, or 1.42 percent, at 14,037.54. It touched its lowest since June 1 at 14,003.74.

All of the index’s 10 main groups were in negative territory and decliners outnumbered gainers by 9.09 to 1.

Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO was among the few stocks that advanced, rising 0.4 percent to C$25.00, while spot gold XAU= rose to a fresh three-week high as investor risk aversion lifted appetite for the metal.

Still, the materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, fell 1.3 percent, while industrials dropped 1.8 percent.

Canada added far more jobs than expected in May as hiring picked up in construction and manufacturing, although a drop in the unemployment rate to a 10-month low stemmed from fewer people looking for work.

Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Phil Berlowitz and James Dalgleish