May 13, 2008 / 9:21 PM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 3-Toronto stocks retreat as profit-taking hits oils

(Adds details, quotes)

*Market retreats from Monday’s record high

*Profit-taking hurts energy shares

*Rona falls after reports drop in profit

By Leah Schnurr

TORONTO, May 13 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index fell back from a record high on Tuesday, weakened by retreating oil and gas shares as investors took the opportunity to lock in profits.

The heavyweight energy sector eased 0.5 percent despite yet another record high for crude near $127 a barrel after Iran said it was studying a plan to cut oil output.

Husky Energy (HSE.TO) fell C$1.65, or 3.2 percent, to C$50.19, and Imperial Oil (IMO.TO) was down C$1.36, or 2.3 percent, at C$57.94.

“I think overall we’re just really seeing a bit of a blowoff from yesterday,” said Michael Sprung, president at Sprung & Co. Investment Counsel. “Our view would be that these highs aren’t sustainable given the weakness in the underlying economy.”

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed 49.37 points, or 0.34 percent, lower at 14,616.70 on Tuesday with six of its 10 main sectors falling. On Monday, the index hit a record high of 14,695.75.

Shares of Rona RON.TO slipped 50 Canadian cents, or 3.7 percent, to C$12.95 after the home renovation retailer reported a 90 percent drop in quarterly profit, and warned it would have a difficulty hitting its goal of low single-digit growth in earnings per share over the next few years.

Tech shares, which also helped fuel the benchmark’s advance on Monday, gave up 1.3 percent amid negative sentiment south of the border over Hewlett-Packard’s (HPQ.N) deal to buy Electronic Data Systems EDS.N.

In Toronto, Research In Motion RIM.TO was off C$1.25, or 0.9 percent, to C$141.00.

On the upside, MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates MDA.TO climbed C$1.21, or 3.1 percent, to C$40.45 a day after the data-processing and space-technology firm reported its first-quarter profit rose even though a robust Canadian dollar took a bite out of its revenue.

BCE Inc (BCE.TO) got a lift from talk that the parties in a dispute over financing the buyout of Clear Channel Communications (CCU.N) had reached an agreement in principle. Several of the banks involved in the Clear Channel deal are also providing financing for the C$34.8 billion buyout of BCE.

Shares of BCE, Canada’s largest telecom company, rose C$1.00, or 2.6 percent, to C$39.10.

The materials sector, home to resource shares, lost 0.6 percent, while gold producers slipped 0.9 percent as the price of bullion tumbled.

Also in the group, fertilizer company Potash Corp of Saskatchewan POT.TO gave up C$3.76, or 1.9 percent, to C$197.99.

Analysts said that the overall tone of the market was quiet as investors were content to take a pause.

“There’s just not a lot of movement,” said Levente Mady, broker at MF Global Canada, in Vancouver. “So, even if it is profit-taking, you’re not really seeing a lot of volatility.”

Mady also said the Toronto composite appeared to be tracking its counterparts in the United States, where stocks slipped as record oil prices highlighted worries about inflation.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI closed down 44.13 points, or 0.34 percent, at 12,832.18, while the Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC edged up 6.63 points, or 0.27 percent, to 2,495.12.

In Toronto, market volume was 369 million shares worth C$7 billion. Decliners outpaced advancers 845 to 760. The blue chip S&P/TSX 60 index .TSE60 closed down 4.19 points, or 0.48 percent, at 870.77. ($1=$1.00 Canadian) (Editing by Peter Galloway)

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