July 11, 2008 / 8:45 PM / in 9 years

UPDATE 3-Toronto stocks stumble as credit worries weigh

(Updates with closing numbers, adds details)

*TSX ends lower after choppy session

*Financials knocked down by credit crunch woes

*Resources remain higher as commodities rally

TORONTO, July 11 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index ended a choppy session lower on Friday as its financial sector dropped sharply on fears of more casualties from the credit crunch.

Worries that U.S. mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae FNM.N and Freddie Mac FRE.N might run short of capital amid the spreading housing crisis rattled markets around the world, and helped take 2.2 percent off Toronto’s financial sector.

Overall uneasiness about the economic picture spurred broad losses elsewhere, and the index’s big energy and materials sectors were the only two groups to hold onto gains as they benefited from rallying commodity prices.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 34.78 points, or 0.25 percent, at 13,709.10, after hitting a high of 13,859.93 earlier in the session.

All of the major banks were down. Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) fell C$1.67, or 3.5 percent, to C$45.46, while Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) slid C$1.53, or 2.9 percent, to C$52.21.

Oil hit a new peak above $147 a barrel amid worries over supply threats, and lifted the Toronto energy sector 0.6 percent. Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) rose C$3.35, or 3.8 percent, to C$92.50, and Suncor Energy (SU.TO) added C$1.93, or 3.3 percent, to C$60.82.

Gold producers also helped put a floor to the market as bullion rallied to a four-month high as the U.S. dollar sagged. Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) was up C$2.81, or 6 percent, at C$50.00, and Goldcorp (G.TO) jumped C$2.66, or 5.7 percent, to C$49.00. The materials group as a whole rose 2.9 percent.

Record high oil prices battered industrial and consumer shares, as investors worried about the appetite for business and personal spending in the face of increased energy costs.

The industrials sector was down 1.9 percent, while the consumer discretionary group fell 1 percent. ($1=$1.01 Canadian) (Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Peter Galloway)

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