* TSX drops 8.18 points, or 0.06 percent, at 13,193.28
* Seven of the 10 main groups were higher (Updates to close, adds details, comments)
By Solarina Ho
TORONTO, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index closed lower on Monday on profit-taking among hefty financial stocks as worries about Europe’s sovereign debt intensified.
Financial stocks ended 1 percent lower and led seven of the index’s 10 main sectors into negative territory. Four of the Canada’s big banks fell. Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) was the weightiest decliner, down 2.33 percent at C$70.52. Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) followed, dropping 1.4 percent to C$50.78, while Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) gave back 2.41 percent to C$56.60. Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) eased 0.92 percent to C$56.08.
“This smacks of last-minute profit-taking. We are very close to the year-end,” said Elvis Picardo, an analyst and strategist at Global Securities.
Continuing fears of more ratings downgrades for indebted euro zone countries and banks also weighed on the sector.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 8.18 points, or 0.06 percent, at 13,193.28. After spending the day in positive territory, the index began to slip 30 minutes before the close, turning negative at the close.
Moody’s Investors Service said it may cut the ratings on Spanish banks following its multi-notch downgrade of Ireland’s credit rating last week, while speculation has risen that France and Belgium may also face cuts. [ID:nLDE6BJ1G1]
“That issue is something that’s been coming up off and on for the last few months now,” Picardo said. “There’s really no sense of panic, but it’s an issue that’s very much front and center for most investors and it does have the tendency to affect the financial sector more than anything else.”
The lone advancing groups were the energy and materials heavyweights. The technology sector finished flat.
Energy stocks were up 0.79 percent. Talisman Energy TLM.TO was the most influential mover, jumping 4.79 percent to C$21.89. South Africa’s Sasol said on Monday it will pay C$1.05 billion for a stake in one of Talisman’s share gas properties. [ID:nLDE6BJ04G]
Suncor Energy (SU.TO) gained 0.94 percent to C$36.64.
“The price of oil was up, gas was up, the cold weather everywhere is having an impact,” said John Ing, president of Maison Placements Canada.
Oil price gains were tempered by a stronger U.S. dollar and the euro zone debt concerns. [O/R]
($1=$1.02 Canadian) (Reporting by Solarina Ho; editing by Peter Galloway)