TSX falls to three-week low as energy shares track oil lower

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index fell on Thursday to a three-week low as weaker oil prices sparked a sell-off in energy shares, but the financials and materials groups gained ground.

A sign board displaying Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) stock information is seen in Toronto June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE fell 11.3 points, or 0.08 percent, to 14,583.42, its lowest close since Oct. 11.

Canadian shares were buffeted as Wall Street stocks extended recent losses. The S&P 500 .SPX fell for the eighth straight session.

“It is tough for Canada to get out of the way of that, especially when energy prices are falling, even though the U.S. dollar is weakening,” said Matt Skipp, president of SW8 Asset Management.

U.S. crude oil futures CLc1 settled 68 cents lower at $44.66 a barrel as investors reeled from a record weekly surge in U.S. crude inventories. [O/R]

Enbridge Inc ENB.TO fell 1.8 percent to C$54.96. Canada's largest pipeline company reported a quarterly profit that missed estimates as warmer-than-expected weather weighed on its unit that distributes natural gas for heating purposes.

Canadian Natural Resources Ltd CNQ.TO fell nearly 3 percent to C$40.94 as it reported a bigger-than-expected loss.

The overall energy group declined 0.7 percent, while healthcare dropped nearly 4 percent.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc VRX.TO tumbled 8.75 percent to C$25.86. The sell-off followed news on Wednesday that the drugmaker was being sued on behalf of former investors in Sprout Pharmaceuticals Inc, which Valeant had acquired, over its alleged failure to successfully market the female libido pill Addyi.

Automotive supplier Magna International Inc MG.TO reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by strong demand from Asia and Europe. Still, its shares fell 2.2 percent to C$52.60.

Eight of the S&P/TSX composite index’s 10 main groups ended lower.

The heavily weighted financials group advanced 0.3 percent, helped by a 0.8 percent advance in shares of Manulife Financial Corp MFC.TO to C$19.14.

Encana Corp ECA.TO jumped 5.6 percent to C$13.19. The oil and natural gas producer posted a quarterly profit on an operating basis as a steep fall in costs helped offset weak commodity prices.

Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO gained 1.2 percent to C$24.52, while spot gold XAU= rose 0.5 percent on a weaker U.S. dollar and uncertainty about the outcome of a tight U.S. presidential race. [GOL/]

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 1.0 percent.

Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by James Dalgleish and Richard Chang