March 9, 2010 / 10:10 PM / 9 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX ends lower as resources, banks retreat

* TSX drops 45.13 points, or 0.38 percent, to 11,918.71

* Energy, materials shares lead TSX lower

* Scotiabank falls 1.4 pct despite profit rise (Adds quotes, details)

By Jennifer Kwan

TORONTO, March 9 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index fell for a second straight session on Tuesday as weaker oil and gold prices pulled resource issues lower and most bank stocks dropped amid profit-taking.

The TSX materials sector, home to mining and fertilizer companies, dropped 0.8 percent as metal prices slipped on rising risk aversion, fueled by sovereign debt worries. [GOL/] The oil and gas group fell 0.6 percent as oil prices dropped on concerns about the economic recovery, which also sparked buying of the safe-haven U.S. dollar. [O/R]

Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) fell 0.7 percent to C$40.54, and Teck Resources TCKb.TO dropped 1.3 percent to C$41.04. Potash Corp of Saskatchewan POT.TO fell 0.8 percent to C$120.36. Suncor Energy (SU.TO) slid 2 percent to C$31.39.

Also weighing on the Toronto index was the heavyweight financial sector, down 0.5 percent, with Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) falling 1.1 percent to C$57.96.

Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) slipped 1.4 percent to C$49.42 even after it beat market expectations by reporting a profit rise of 17 percent in the first quarter as domestic banking earnings surged and loan losses were lower than anticipated. [ID:nN08126522].

“I’d say the weakness we’re seeing today could possibly be on account of some profit-taking in the financial group, specifically bank stocks, which have been tremendous performers in recent weeks,” said Elvis Picardo, analyst and strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished the day down 45.13 points, or 0.38 percent, at 11,918.71, with seven of its 10 main groups lower.

The information technology sector climbed 0.5 percent and telecom shares rose 0.6 percent, while utilities edged 0.3 percent higher.

For most of the day, however, trading action was lackluster and reflected a cautious tone as investors remembered the index touching a multi-year low a year ago amid the economic downturn. The Toronto index has risen 58 percent from the five-year low of 7,566.94 hit on March 9, 2009.

The index also pierced 12,000 on Monday, which could be a factor behind Tuesday’s weaker performance, said Picardo.

“Every time you get you close to that 12,000 mark you see some investors quite happy to take some money off,” he said.

The index briefly popped into positive territory around midday as oil and gold prices steadied. [O/R] [GOL/]

But the slide resumed again in the afternoon as nervousness about the economic outlook drew investors toward safer-haven instruments. [FRX/]

Elsewhere, shares of Bombardier Inc (BBDb.TO) fell 3.6 percent to C$5.87 after UBS lowered its rating on the plane and train company’s stock to “neutral” from “buy,” saying further upside is limited in the near term, given moderate growth at the company’s rail division. [ID:nSGE6280IT]

The blue chip S&P/TSX 60 index .TSE60 closed 2.89 points, or 0.41 percent, lower at 699.71.

$1=$1.03 Canadian Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Rob Wilson

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