* TSX falls 0.24 percent to 12,156.71
* C$ hits US$ parity, impact on equity markets muted
* Energy biggest laggard, down 0.64 pct, despite oil rise (Adds details)
By Ka Yan Ng
TORONTO, April 6 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index fell on Tuesday with the energy group the chief laggard as investors took profits after two sessions of gains.
The Canadian dollar was the standout piece of Canadian news as it hit parity with the U.S. dollar for the first time in more than 20 months. But the impact on Toronto stocks was muted. [CAD/] [ID:nN18199261]
“In the very short term we’ve run out of drivers to push the markets higher. We haven’t yet seen any level of broad concern with regards to the Canadian dollar appreciation,” said Elvis Picardo, analyst and strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.
He added that the next market movers will likely be corporate earnings, which will start coming out in the next few weeks.
The price of oil had a seesaw session but settled higher for a sixth consecutive session, although the TSX’s energy group, down 0.64 percent, failed to keep up with the commodity, an important Canadian export. [O/R]
Talisman Energy TLM.TO dropped 1.9 percent to C$17.83, while Imperial Oil (IMO.TO) lost 1.8 percent to C$40.95.
The index’s materials group was lower as well, down 0.59 percent, even as the price of gold firmed and copper hit a 20-month high. [GOL/] [MET/L]
Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO), the world’s biggest gold producer, lost 0.65 percent to C$39.44, but Teck Resources TCKb.TO bucked the trend, rising 1.19 percent to C$46.75.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 29.64 points, or 0.24 percent, at 12,156.71, falling after reaching its highest level in 18 months on Monday.
The index was lower most of the day but briefly pared losses in the afternoon after minutes from the last U.S. Federal Reserve meeting suggested the Fed might continue to keep interest rates at their current ultra low level. [ID:nWEQ003852]
“We’re kind of sailing into unchartered waters here so everyone kind of has a ‘you go first’ attitude,” said Bruce Latimer, a trader at Dundee Securities.
“People are bullish but they’re hesitant...two steps forward, three steps back.”
Seven of the index’s 10 main groups were lower on Tuesday. Among the advancing groups was infotech, up 0.16 percent, largely because of a 3.5 percent gain in Research In Motion RIM.TO. The BlackBerry maker released updated tools to make it easier and faster for developers to create feature-rich Web and wireless applications to be used on the company’s smartphones. Shares of RIM rose to C$70.24. [ID:nN05252096]
Also weighing on riskier assets were developments in Greece’s debt woes. Greece’s government, concerned that the International Monetary Fund could impose tough conditions in exchange for aid, wants to bypass an IMF financial contribution, senior government sources in Athens told media. A Greek finance ministry source denied the report. [ID:nSGE635012] [ID:nATH005333]
$1=$1.00 Canadian Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Peter Galloway