* TSX ends down 21.34 points at 11424.61
* Financial shares headline latest retreat
* Energy shares help cushion overall drop (Adds details, comments and official numbers)
By Frank Pingue
TORONTO, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index rallied off a one-week low but still closed lower for a third straight session on Monday as investors avoided commitments ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting later this week.
The index’s heavily weighted financials group led the latest slide as investors opted to avoid big positions, possibly until Wednesday, when the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is expected to hold interest rates unchanged at near zero percent.
Shares of insurer Manulife Financial (MFC.TO), the biggest drag on the index, closed down 1.8 percent to C$22.37, while Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) fell 0.9 percent to C$67.95.
The index’s fall was limited as some big energy stocks pushed higher on hopes of higher prices for oil and natural gas down the road.
Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) rose 2.4 percent to C$73.92, while Imperial Oil (IMO.TO) ended the session up 2 percent at C$41.34.
The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended down 21.34 points, or 0.19 percent, at 11,424.61.
Shortly after the session started, the TSX fell 1 percent to 11,329.50, its lowest level since Sept. 14. It subsequently rallied off that low but never entered positive territory.
“There’s no conviction but that’s quite typical when you have something else as critical as the FOMC news later this week,” said Elvis Picardo, analyst and strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.
“But the bottom line is that the market continues to be tremendously resilient. I think a lot of money is on the sidelines and some of it may have been put to work here.”
($1=$1.08 Canadian) (Reporting by Frank Pingue; editing by Peter Galloway)