February 21, 2008 / 9:43 PM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 3-Toronto stocks fall as oils, financials sag

(Updates figures and adds comments)

By Wojtek Dabrowski

TORONTO, Feb 21 (Reuters) - The main index of the Toronto Stock Exchange ended in the red on Thursday as a surge in resources and Research In Motion RIM.TORIMM.O failed to offset weak energy and financial shares, which fell on renewed worries over the U.S. economy.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE fell 42.14 points, or 0.31 percent, to close at 13,509.55.

“Unfortunately, today is one of the days when concerns about a possible recession in the U.S. are front and center in the minds of most investors,” said Elvis Picardo, investment strategist at Northern Securities in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The energy and financial sectors headlined the broad decline, shedding 1.61 percent and 0.64 percent respectively. Utilities gave up a notable 2.62 percent.

Investors around the world continued to fret over the health of the U.S. economy in wake of the subprime mortgage crisis.

“We’ve just started to see the tip of the iceberg,” said Lex Kerkovius, senior research analyst at McLean & Partners Wealth Management in Calgary, Alberta. “I think the economic news is still a long way from being at its zenith in terms of the amount of bad news that could potentially come out.”

Among the few bright spots of the session, the resources-laden materials group rose 0.88 percent, while information technology was up 1.82 percent thanks to RIM.

The company, which makes the ubiquitous BlackBerry smartphone, was the day’s top net gainer, adding C$8.96, or 9 percent, to finish at C$108. The jump came after RIM said it will add more subscribers in its fourth quarter than earlier expected.

Gold miners also saw healthy gains as Goldcorp (G.TO) and Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) both posted banner profits. Barrick also announced it would buy out Rio Tinto’s (RIO.L) stake in their Cortez gold-mining joint venture in Nevada for $1.7 billion.

Gold is trading at about $950 per ounce, benefiting from inflation fears and a weak U.S. dollar, which lends additional support to miners’ shares.

Picardo said he expects bullion “could be on course to test $1,000 per ounce in the weeks ahead.”

$1=$1.01 Canadian Reporting by Wojtek Dabrowski; Editing by Peter Galloway

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