February 11, 2009 / 9:36 PM / 10 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-RIM forecast helps drag Toronto index lower

* Tech shares down 5.4 pct, lead TSX lower

* RIM shares drop 15.4 pct on profit outlook

* Gold strength supports materials sector, up 3.6 pct (Adds details, quote, updates figures)

TORONTO, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index fell on Wednesday, dragged lower by the information technology sector as shares of Research In Motion RIM.TO dropped on a profit warning.

The slide in technology stocks, down 5.4 percent, overcame strength in the materials sector, up 3.6 percent, which got a boost from a rally in the gold price.

“Gold is the area of excitement,” said Robert Lauzon, executive director and head of trading at Middlefield Capital Corporation. “RIM is getting clobbered.”

The offsetting sectors kept the Toronto Stock Exchange largely flat for parts of the day, but the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 80.00 points, or 0.91 percent, at 8,737.89, with six of its 10 main groups lower.

Shares of RIM fell 15.4 percent to C$60.00 after the BlackBerry maker forecast its quarterly profit would come in at the low end of expectations because businesses are not buying its latest smartphone upgrades in the economic downturn. [ID:nN11352604]

Other heavily weighted stocks on the downside included Potash Corp of Saskatchewan POT.TO, off 4 percent at C$105.38, and EnCana Corp (ECA.TO), which also dropped 4 percent to close at C$53.12.

The energy sector fell 1.7 percent as oil slid 4.3 percent amid demand concerns to settle at $35.94 a barrel. [ID:nSYD426357]

Strong gold prices XAU= helped lift Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) 3.8 percent to C$47.92, with Goldcorp (G.TO) ahead 6 percent at C$39.05.

The see-saw action comes a day after the resource-laden TSX fell sharply along with other North American equity markets on skepticism over Washington’s bank rescue plan, unveiled on Tuesday.

“The market is very, very delicate right now on the upside and the downside,” said Lauzon.

Among individual movers, fertilizer maker and agricultural products retailer Agrium Inc AGU.TO rose 2.6 percent to C$47.21 as the company reported lower quarterly profit, but its shares rose on its outlook for a turnaround in demand later in the year. [ID:nN11346773]

$1=$1.24 Canadian Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Rob Wilson

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