* TSX ends down 0.24 percent at 10,515.32
* Materials group drops 1.18 percent
* Six-day rally spurs profit-taking (Adds details details, quote)
By John McCrank
TORONTO, July 21 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index finished lower in choppy trade on Tuesday as investors pocketed some profits after six straight days of gains and a weaker gold price weighed on the materials sector.
The mining-heavy materials group dropped 1.18 percent as gold prices slipped on anti-inflation comments by the U.S. Federal Reserve. [ID:nN21560088] Goldcorp (G.TO) fell 1.14 percent to C$41.55, while Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) ended down 0.53 percent at C$39.19.
The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 25.39 points, or 0.24 percent, at 10,515.32 after gaining as much as 57 points early in the day. Five of its 10 main groups were lower.
“Probably some profit-taking, because we had a phenomenal rally in that last couple of weeks,” Lex Kerkovius, senior research analyst at McLean & Partners Wealth Management Ltd in Calgary, said of the retreat.
“The market is playing a big game of tug-of-war at the moment between how far it should run with a possible recovery, and have we come too far too soon.”
The TSX rose 6.3 percent last week.
The index was down more than 1 percent early in the afternoon, but a rebound in oil prices helped lift the energy group off its lows. The sector ended down 0.43 percent.
Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) was the biggest heavyweight decliner on the day, falling 4.1 percent to C$62.55. Talisman Energy TLM.TO dropped 1.2 percent to C$16.88, and TransCanada Corp (TRP.TO) shed 1.1 percent to C$31.00.
Results season is just getting under way in Canada, but in the United States, a number of big companies have reported surprises to the upside.
“The bottom-line numbers appear to be surprising, but it’s coming on missed revenue numbers but better cost control, so that’s a theme. And the market, on one hand they like it and on the other its not a growth scenario,” said Paul Hand, managing director at RBC Capital Markets.
In the United States, heavy-equipment maker Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N) posted stronger than expected earnings on Tuesday and raised its full-year outlook, citing signs of global economic stability. [ID:nN21196202]
In Canada, Toromont Industries (TIH.TO), which is a major supplier of Caterpillar equipment, reported a weaker quarterly profit, but cost-cutting helped it top analyst forecasts. [ID:nN21223789] Toromont shares ended 1.5 percent higher at C$23.34.
$1=$1.10 Canadian Reporting by John McCrank; editing by Rob Wilson