* TSX down 0.9 percent with 5 sectors lower
* Financials off 2.8 percent as insurers hit
* Energy issues retreat 1.5 percent (Adds details, quote)
TORONTO, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index fell on Thursday, pressured by weakness in financials as two of Canada’s biggest insurers posted disappointing results, while the energy sector retreated along with the price of oil.
The financial services sector was down 2.8 percent, leading the Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index lower. Energy issues fell 1.5 percent, adding to the downward pressure, as oil futures CLc1 dropped below $34 a barrel on concerns about the global economy and tumbling demand. [ID:nSYD417720]
In the oil patch, EnCana Corp ECA.TO was down 1.5 percent at C$52.33.
Major issues on the downside included Manulife Financial MFC.TO, off 6.7 percent at C$18.07, and Sun Life Financial SLF.TO, which fell 2.8 percent to C$22.55.
The two big insurers saw their quarterly results battered by ailing capital markets, writedowns and the need to shore up reserves. [ID:nN12444909]
“Financials are down quite significantly because of the dismal results from the insurance companies. So, for a change today, the focus is on the insurance stocks and not on the bank stocks,” said Elvis Picardo, analyst and strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.
In recent sessions, financials have come under added pressure because of disappointment in the U.S. bank rescue plan.
At 2:38 p.m. (1938 GMT), the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 77.66 points, or 0.89 percent, at 8,660.23, with five of its 10 main groups lower. At midday, the index briefly popped into the black before falling again.
On the upside, Barrick Gold ABX.TO rose 0.9 percent to C$48.36. The materials sector which had been higher for most of the day, slipped 0.09 percent.
The telecoms sector rose 2.2 percent with Telus Corp T.TO up 4.2 percent at C$34.90.
$1=$1.25 Canadian Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Rob Wilson