May 6, 2008 / 1:57 PM / 11 years ago

Toronto stocks little changed, financials retreat

TORONTO, May 6 (Reuters) - Toronto stocks were little changed at the open on Tuesday as further problems in the U.S. housing and credit markets hurt Canada’s heavily weighted financial shares.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up just 11.95 points at 14,286.29.

Seven of the TSX index’s 10 main groups fell, led by a 1.3 percent drop among financial shares and a 0.4 percent fall among industrial shares.

But a 1.3 percent rise in the influential energy group and a 1 percent boost in the resource-heavy materials group cushioned the blow.

Financial shares, which account for about 30 percent of the overall index, dropped as pessimistic news in the U.S. housing market adds to concerns about the slowing U.S. economy.

Fannie Mae FNM.N, the largest provider of U.S. home financing, reported its third straight quarterly loss and said it would lower its common stock dividend as it sees significant credit losses stretching into 2009.

D.R. Horton Inc (DHI.N), the largest U.S. home builder, posted a quarterly loss of $1.3 billion as it wrote down the value of its land holdings and inventory of unsold homes.

Among Canada’s financial issues, Sun Life Financial(SLF.TO) shed C$2.30 to C$46.92 and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) slipped 97 Canadian cents to C$72.96.

Sun Life said its quarterly profit rose 7 percent despite global credit pressures and a strong local currency.

Meanwhile, oil and metals shares tried hard to offset the losses as U.S. crude oil hovered near record levels and gold rebounded from four-month lows.

Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) added 78 Canadian cents to C$40.19 and Potash Corp POT.TO rose C$2.21 to C$198.57.

Oil shares climbed as U.S. crude oil prices traded around $119.40 a barrel after touching a record high near $121 on fear that Nigerian output cuts and geopolitical tensions between Iran and the West would cut supply.

Suncor Energy (SU.TO) added C$1.90 to C$118.40. ($1=$1.01 Canadian) (Reporting by Scott Anderson; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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