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By Leah Schnurr
TORONTO, Dec 3 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index closed lower on Monday, ending four days of gains, as weak tech and financial shares dragged on the market.
The tech sector slid 2.2 percent, led down by BlackBerry maker Research In Motion RIM.TO, which lost C$9.07, or 8 percent, to C$104.76 after Morgan Keegan cut its rating on the stock.
Financials, which rallied last week on quarterly earnings from some of the major banks, fell 0.2 percent, hurt by profit-taking.
The sector was also hindered by nagging concerns over the fallout from troubles in the U.S. credit market, said Peter Chandler, senior vice-president at Canaccord Capital in Waterloo, Ontario.
“(There’s) a lot of anxiety about whether there’s more shoes to fall in the whole subprime area,” Chandler said.
Toronto’s key S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 31.95 points, or 0.23 percent, at 13,657.17 with half of its subindexes lower.
The market was also looking ahead to an interest rate decision by the Bank of Canada on Tuesday.
“In our market, everybody seems to be focusing their attention on the Bank of Canada’s meeting tomorrow and will they or won’t they lower interest rates,” Chandler said.
On the upside, Agrium Inc AGU.TO was among the biggest advancers by weight after the company said it will buy UAP Holding Corp UAPH.O for a total of $2.65 billion to create North America’s largest agricultural retailer.
Agrium was up C$3.53, or 6.2 percent, at C$60.93 and helped push the materials sector up 1.2 percent. Elsewhere in the sector, fertilizer producer Potash Corp of Saskatchewan POT.TO rose C$4.62, or 3.9 percent, to C$123.42.
A turnaround in oil prices helped the energy sector push into positive territory, up 0.4 percent. Crude rallied 60 cents to $89.31 a barrel on expectations OPEC will not up output.
Suncor Energy (SU.TO) rose C$2.77, or 2.9 percent, to C$98.38, while Petro-Canada PCA.TO was up 16 Canadian cents, or 0.3 percent, at C$48.46.
In other news, Enerplus Resources Fund ERF_u.TO said it will buy Focus Energy Trust FET_u.TO for C$1.2 billion.
The news sent units of Focus up 48 Canadian cents, or 3 percent, at C$16.60, while Enerplus was down C$1.15, or 2.8 percent, at C$39.75.
The lightweight health care sector was off 2.1 percent as Biovail Corp BVF.TO fell 63 Canadian cents, or 4.1 percent, to C$14.58, and Cardiome Pharma Corp COM.TO lost 80 Canadian cents, or 7.9 percent, to C$9.29.
Market volume was 367 million shares worth C$6.5 billion. Decliners outpaced advancers 897 to 756. The blue chip S&P/TSX 60 index .TSE60 closed down 2.06 points, or 0.26 percent, at 796.44.
In New York, stocks slid on new data that pointed to a weakening manufacturing sector, and on uncertainty about plans to fix the mortgage market.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was down 57.15 points, or 0.43 percent, at 13,314.57 and the Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC fell 23.83 points, or 0.9 percent, to 2,637.13. ($1=$1.00 Canadian) (Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Peter Galloway)