* TSX down 81.05 points, or 0.59 percent at 13,611.32
* Lowest close since March 16
* Energy off 1.49 percent on lower crude prices
By Solarina Ho
TORONTO, May 4 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index sagged to its lowest close in seven weeks on Wednesday, following a broad sell-off in oil and mining resources as commodity prices fell sharply.
The energy group led with a 1.49 percent retreat. Talisman Energy TLM.TO, which reported a quarterly loss, was the biggest drag on the index, falling 5.88 percent to C$21.11. [ID:nN03291511]
Not far behind was Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO), which gave back 1.99 percent to finish at C$42.34 and Imperial Oil (IMO.TO), which was off 1.36 percent at C$47.70.
U.S. crude sank below $110 a barrel to its lowest level in two weeks following a larger-than-forecast increase in crude stockpiles. [O/R]
“The resources have been a powerful influence on the upside and what we’re seeing is that they’re also a powerful influence on the downside,” said John Ing, president of Maison Placements Canada.
The overall materials group, home to mining firms, was off 0.13 percent. Diversified miner Teck Resources TCKb.TO was down 1.68 percent at C$49.62.
Copper suffered its biggest one-day loss since early March amid worries over China tightening its monetary policy, slowing U.S. growth and the negative economic impact of high energy prices. [MET/L]
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished the session down 81.05 points, or 0.59 percent at 13,611.32. This added to Tuesday’s 1.74 percent drop and marked the index’s lowest close since March 16.
Six of the 10 main groups were in the red.
The hefty financial sector, which makes up 29 percent of the index, was down 0.6 percent. Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) was another key drag on the index, falling 1.19 percent to C$58.23, while Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) slid 1.05 percent to C$57.73.
Offsetting some of the declines was a late day rebound in among gold miners. The sub-index was up 0.61 percent, led by a 4.86 percent jump in Kinross Gold (K.TO) shares, to C$14.88. The company reported a higher quarterly profit after the market closed on Tuesday. [ID:nN04194058]
Other gold miners eked out smaller gains, despite earlier declines. Gold prices were weighed down by a sharp slide in silver prices. Sentiment among precious metals investors also took a hit after a report said high-profile investor George Soros, who was bullish on gold and a top gold funds investor, has been selling gold and silver in the past month or so. [GOL/]
($1=$0.96 Canadian) (Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)