* TSX ends down 151.89 points, or 1.01 percent, at 14,929.37
* Nine of 10 main index sectors decline
* Canadian Natural, Suncor are among most influential gainers
By Alastair Sharp
TORONTO, March 25 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index fell 1 percent on Wednesday, with heavyweight banks and insurers weighing, while a bounce in oil prices helped some of the country’s biggest oil and gas producers.
The overall slip was less severe than that seen in the United States, as investors fretted about economic data in Canada’s largest trading partner.
“The trend in the last couple of days has been a reassessment of the short-term growth prospects out of the States,” said Rick Hutcheon, president and chief operating officer at RKH Investments.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index closed down 151.89 points, or 1.01 percent, at 14,929.37. Of the 10 main sectors, only energy avoided a fall.
“The energy sector is coming back in favor,” said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier. “There’s a little less pessimism.”
Oil gained 3 percent as a weak U.S. dollar, fighting in Yemen and speculative buying boosted prices.
Hutcheon said Canadian producers with solid balance sheets and prudent plans were finding some favor. He cited as examples Canadian Natural Resources Ltd, which advanced 1.5 percent to C$38.48, and Suncor Energy Inc, which added 0.5 percent to C$36.16.
“People are beginning to sense that the big blowout downside to $20 or something may not happen,” he said. “No one can pick the bottom, but you start buying from time to time in energy.”
Elsewhere, financial stocks fell 1.2 percent, industrials lost 1.1 percent, and the materials group, which includes miners, shed 1.4 percent. (Additional reporting by John Tilak; Editing by W Simon)