* TSX falls 79.38 points, or 0.65 percent, to 12,116.59
* Six of 10 index groups lower
* Consumer stocks steady on strong earnings (Adds details, quote)
By Jennifer Kwan
TORONTO, May 13 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index finished lower for the first time in four sessions on Thursday as weaker oil and gold prices pushed down heavily weighted resource issues.
The price of oil dropped below $75 a barrel, hurt by high U.S. inventories and doubts about economic recovery, and that helped push energy shares down 0.7 percent. [O/R] The index’s other key resource group, materials, sank 1.5 percent as the price of bullion pulled back after its recent runup. [GOL/]
Global stocks [ID:.MIWD00000PUS] and the euro faltered on Thursday due to unsettling U.S. economic data and worries that growth in Europe will slow due to belt-tightening in heavily indebted countries. [MKTS/GLOB] [.N]
“Now that people have had a bit of time to think about it, I would guess there are still deep concerns over what’s happening in Europe,” said Michael Sprung, president at Sprung & Co. Investment Counsel.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE retreated 79.38 points, or 0.65 percent, to 12,116.59. Six of its 10 main groups were lower.
The index had risen for three straight sessions heading into Thursday, rebounding from a 4.2 rout last week that was spurred by fears that Greece’s debt crisis would spread to other euro zone countries.
“This is a market that’s got a lot of fatigue in it. “Everyone knows that sell in May and go away is the axiom,” said Rick Meslin, head of Canadian equities at UBS.
“It’s a general sentiment shift of being more cautious and selling into strength. Investors are not prepared to buy a sustained rally yet.”
Still, strength in some consumer-related stocks helped to limit the index’s fall. The group was buoyed by strong profits from several companies including Gildan Activewear (GIL.TO) and Tim Hortons THI.TO. [ID:nN13261938] [ID:nN13267932]
T-shirt maker Gildan climbed 3.3 percent to C$31.20, while coffee shop chain Tim Hortons was up 3.3 percent at C$35.48.
Canadian Tire Corp (CTCa.TO), one of the country’s biggest retailers, on Thursday posted a stronger-than-expected quarterly profit and sales growth in its established stores. It finished the day up 4.6 percent at C$59.11. [ID:nN13265011]
Elsewhere in the market, Penn West Energy Trust PWT_u.TO said it will sell a 45 percent stake in a planned oil sands project to China Investment Corp for C$817 million, the latest in a series of Canadian companies turning to China for cash to develop the massive resource. Penn West rose 3.8 percent to C$20.19.
The blue chip S&P/TSX 60 index .TSE60 closed 4.95 points lower, or 0.69 percent, at 711.88.
$1=$1.02 Canadian Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; Editing by Frank McGurty