* TSX touches lowest level since Jan. 23
* Lower gold price helps to drag down materials
* Energy group retreats with oil price (Adds details, quote)
TORONTO, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index fell broadly on Monday, pressured by softer oil and gold prices, while concerns about the deteriorating global economy weighed on financial issues.
Tumbling commodity prices combined to push the materials and energy sectors down 2.2 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively.
Among heavyweight issues pressuring the index, Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) was down 2.9 percent at C$44.79, while Goldcorp Inc (G.TO) slipped 2.5 percent to C$35.42, as the price of gold dropped as short-term investors took profits. [ID:nL2227333]
Energy company Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) fell 2.5 percent to close at C$42.80, retreating along with the price of crude CLc1, which settled at $40.08 a barrel, down 3.84 percent.
The price of crude fell as demand concerns were fueled by gloomy economic data, including a drop in U.S. consumer spending in December. [ID:nSYD119442]
“It’s a realization that the economy continues to weaken here and earnings expectations continue to ratchet down,” said Michael Sprung, president at Sprung & Co. Investment Counsel.
The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 70.07 points, or 0.81 percent, at 8,624.83, with nine of the TSX’s 10 main groups ending lower.
Information technology was the lone sector in positive territory, up 0.38 percent, with Research In Motion RIM.TO ahead 2.6 percent at C$69.52.
The fall on the first trading day of February comes after the TSX logged a 3 percent drop in January for its fifth straight monthly loss, as fears over the state of the world economy continued to send investors to the exits.
At one point on Monday, the index sank 1.9 percent lower to its lowest level since Jan. 23, but struggled back as U.S. data showed a smaller than expected contraction in the manufacturing sector. [ID:nN02375796]
“It’s still in bleak territory but not as bleak as some might have expected,” said Paul Taylor, chief investment officer at BMO Harris Investment Management Inc.
Financials retreated 0.8 percent, pressured by concerns about the economy and the future of the U.S. banking sector. Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) sagged 0.6 percent to C$30.24.
Among individual stocks, Petro-Canada PCA.TO was a heavily weighted mover on the upside, rising 1.2 percent to C$26.91, after a newspaper report said the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan planned to challenge management in a bid to boost the oil company’s performance. [ID:nN02454155]
$1=$1.24 Canadian Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Rob Wilson