* TSX closes 0.32 percent lower at 7,566.94
* Marks lowest close since October 2003
* Materials and financials behind latest selloff (Adds comments, details, official numbers)
By Frank Pingue
TORONTO, March 9 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index ended at its lowest close in more than five years on Monday as weaker bullion prices dragged down shares of gold miners while bank worries weighed on financial issues.
The drop in gold prices knocked the Toronto Stock Exchange’s broader materials sector down by 0.98 percent, while concerns over the outlook for the global banking sector sent the financial index down 2.5 percent.
“There’s really not a lot of traction in the marketplace,” said Irwin Michael, portfolio manager at ABC Funds. “People are very unsure ... and in Canada they are waiting for Friday’s unemployment number for February.”
A 3 percent rally by the energy sector, which accounts for about 20 percent of the TSX index, helped cushion the overall slide.
The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 24.53 points, or 0.32 percent, at 7,566.94.
The index got off to a volatile start, sliding as much as 1 percent right after the open, before turning around and rising as much as 1.4 percent, as higher oil prices bolstered energy shares.
Shortly after midday it moved back below the break-even level and remained there for the rest of the session.
$1=$1.30 Canadian Editing by Rob Wilson