* 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)
By Jennifer Kwan
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]
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 producer 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]
Shares of BCE Inc (BCE.TO), Canada’s biggest telecom company, climbed 1.4 percent to C$25.49 after it reported quarterly loss but said it expects earnings to grow by more than 5 percent in 2009. [ID:nN11379390]
South of the border, U.S. stocks rose after lawmakers reached a compromise deal on a $789 billion stimulus package to help jolt the recession-rattled economy. [ID:nN11388979] [ID:nN11379390]
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 0.6 percent to close at 7,939.53, but the U.S. news did not appear to help the Toronto market trim its losses.
“The market is still suffering from a great deal of uncertainty,” said Michael Sprung, president of Sprung & Co. Investment Counsel
The blue chip S&P/TSX 60 index .TSE60 closed 6.99 points lower, or 1.31 percent, at 524.76.
$1=$1.24 Canadian Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Rob Wilson