* Composite index down 80.98 points at 12,979.58
* Eight of 10 index sectors weaker, led by financials
* TMX Group helps offset index losses after bids sweetened (Recasts with closing prices, adds comments)
By Trish Nixon
TORONTO, June 23 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock market index ended lower on Thursday as a sharp drop in oil prices and growing concern about the outlook for the global economy hurt financial and energy shares.
Financial stocks were the biggest drag on the index, led by Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO), down 1.5 percent at C$78.5, Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), down 1.3 percent at C$53.82, and Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) off 1.2 percent at C$57.25.
Energy shares, down 1.1 percent, also weighed after oil prices hit a four-month low. Oil fell after the United States and International Energy Agency said they would release 60 million barrels of oil from strategic stockpiles to help spur the global economy. [O/R]
“It’s the usual suspects here,” said John Kinsey, portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities Ltd. “Oil is down almost 4 dollars a barrel, energy stocks are down. The gold stocks had been lagging, and just when it looked like maybe they were going to do something they are getting trashed today.”
Miners Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO), down 1.35 percent at C$42.98, and Goldcorp Inc. (G.TO), off 1.14 percent at C$47.59 rounded off the top 5 decliners.
Gold fell 2 percent on Thursday, its biggest one-day drop in more than a month, after disappointing U.S. jobless claims data hit investor risk appetite and boosted the dollar. [GOL/]
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 80.98 points, or 0.6 percent, at 12,979.58.
Helping offset the decline was Research In Motion’s RIM.TO 5.5 percent rise to C$29.14. The BlackBerry maker’s shares have benefited this week from increased speculation that the sharp fall in its stock price could make it a more attractive takeover target.
TMX Group Inc (X.TO) shares rose 2.37 percent to C$45.30 after a consortium of Canadian banks and pension funds raised its hostile takeover bid for the operator of the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday. [ID:nN1E75L17E]
($1=$0.98 Canadian) (With additional reporting by Claire Sibonney, additional writing by Jeffrey Hodgson; editing by Peter Galloway)