* TSX down 0.99 percent at 8,200.18
* Financials drop 1.2 percent (Updates to midday, updates figures)
By Jennifer Kwan
TORONTO, March 13 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index was sharply lower at midday on Friday, dragged down by energy and financial shares as investors locked in profits following three straight days of gains.
Energy shares were down 2 percent with Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) retreating 2.4 percent to C$46.86. Financial issues dropped 1.2 percent with Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) falling 1.4 percent to C$40.52.
The resource-heavy materials group was flat but heavyweight member Potash Corp of Saskatchewan POT.TO fell 2.9 percent to C$96.25.
“We’re in the process of trying to put in a bottom in the market, and it isn’t a straight line,” said Peter Chandler, senior vice-president at Canaccord Capital in Waterloo, Ontario.
“You’re going into a Friday, the markets had — in relative terms... — a pretty good week. So not a surprise to see a little bit of that profit-taking get locked in on the last trading day of the week.”
At 11:50 a.m., (1550 GMT), the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 82.09 points, or 0.99 percent, at 8,200.18, with eight of its 10 main groups lower.
Financials retreated after climbing 1.9 percent earlier in the session. The financial sector, which makes up about 30 percent of the Toronto index’s total weighting, had lit a fire under the market earlier in the week after Bank of America (BAC.N), Citigroup (C.N) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM.N) executives all provided reassuring statements about their banks’ profitability.
Data on Friday showed Canada’s economy lost more jobs than expected in February, another sign that the country’s recession may be more severe than many had previously thought.[ID:nN13253705] Analysts said the data did not appear to have much effect on the equity market.
$1=$1.27 Canadian Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; Editing by Peter Galloway