*TSX down 42.12 points at 14,050.23
*Energy, materials weaker as fiancials gain (Updates with details, comments)
By Claire Sibonney
TORONTO, March 8 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index was down on Tuesday morning, retreating to a one-week low as energy producers and miners dropped on softer commodity prices, but stronger financials helped limit the losses.
The index’s weighty energy and materials sectors were both down sharply, each off 1.4 percent.
Oil prices retreated after after Kuwait’s oil minister said OPEC was considering boosting production for the first time in more than two years, soothing markets rattled by unrest in Libya and the Middle Eastt. [O/R]
But the crisis in Libya continued to weigh on copper and base metals prices, while gold remained well off the previous session’s record high as the retreat in oil prompted some investors to take profits. [MET/L] [GOL/]
Among the heaviest decliners were Suncor Energy (SU.TO), down 2.6 percent to C$44.37, Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO), down 1.3 percent at C$50.86, and First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO), 1.1 percent lower at C$118.50.
At 10:21 a.m. (1521 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 42.12 points, or 0.3 percent at 14,050.23. On Monday, the index dived 160 points.
“It’s kind of a follow-through from yesterday ... the market maybe got a little ahead of itself, we had a very good run there for a while and I think that a lot of people were expecting a pullback and maybe we’re getting that now,” said John Kinsey, portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities.
“The winners had been in the energy and in the materials sectors and they are the ones that are being hurt, whether it’s profit-taking or it’s just a normal kind of pullback here in an uptrend.”
The index opened in slightly higher on Tuesday as the weaker oil prices eased fears that high energy costs could derail the global economic recovery. It quickly fell to as low as 13,973.62, however, its weakest point since Feb. 25.
Financials were up 0.6 percent as impressive quarterly bank earnings continued to lend support, Kinsey said.
Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) skidded 1.7 percent to C$59.15, however, despite reporting an 18 percent increase in quarterly profit on Tuesday and raising its dividend. Expectations for its results were high due to strong earnings at other Canadian banks. [ID:nN07110134]
“The financials are pretty solid here. With the exception maybe of Scotia, which is down I guess because they only beat (per share profit expectations) by a penny or something,” Kinsey said. He added that the fall in Scotiabank shares was surprising given the bank’s very good earnings report.
($1=$0.97 Canadian) (Reporting by Claire Sibonney; editing by Peter Galloway)