(Adds portfolio manager comments, details on gold stocks, Valeant, financial sector stocks, Loblaw Companies, updates prices)
* TSX ended down 3.06 points, or 0.02 percent, to 13,668.29
* Just three of the TSX’s 10 main groups ended lower
By Fergal Smith
TORONTO, April 14 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index fell slightly on Thursday as lower commodity prices weighed on energy and mining stocks, while financial sector stocks rose.
The index has rallied 18.5 percent since hitting an almost 3-1/2-year low in January. On Wednesday, it touched its highest in five months at 13,703.61.
The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 2.7 percent.
“The big story today is just the pullback in the gold stocks,” said Patrick Blais, senior portfolio manager at Manulife Asset Management.
Barrick Gold Corp fell 3.7 percent to C$19.81, while Goldcorp Inc was also down 3.7 percent at C$21.31.
Spot gold fell 1.4 percent as the U.S. dollar rose for the third straight day and world stocks climbed to 2016 highs.
Fertilizer producers also dragged, including a 5.3 percent drop in Agrium Inc to C$107.02 and a 2.4 percent decline in Potash Corp to C$20.86 after several analysts downgraded their views on the stocks.
The energy group retreated 0.5 percent as oil prices fell amid skepticism that an upcoming meeting of major producers would do much to tighten the supply demand balance.
U.S. crude prices settled at $41.50 a barrel, down 0.62 percent.
Shaw Communications Inc declined 3.2 percent to C$23.54. The company posted a 3 percent rise in quarterly revenue as it added more retail Internet customers.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc fell 1.8 percent to C$41.66. Standard & Poor’s downgraded its corporate credit rating after the drugmaker got a notice of default from bondholders as a result of a delay in filing its annual report.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index closed down 3.06 points, or 0.02 percent, to 13,668.29. Just three of the index’s 10 main groups ended lower.
Financial sector stocks gained 0.7 percent, including a 0.9 percent rise in the shares of Toronto-Dominion Bank to C$55.75.
The group moved higher in concert with U.S. financials after U.S. bank earnings were not as bad as feared, according to Blais.
Loblaw Companies Ltd rose near 2 percent to C$70.63. Blais expects the stock to deliver good earnings growth and returns.
Bombardier Inc jumped near 7 percent to C$1.53 on speculation of a pending order for its aircraft. (Additional reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Fiona Ortiz and James Dalgleish)