* TSX drops to near 1-week low, down 1.2 pct at 13,954.22
* Nine of 10 sectors fall, led by materials, financials
* Energy sector is lone riser, up 0.6 pct (Adds details)
By Ka Yan Ng
TORONTO, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index tumbled on Tuesday afternoon, as turmoil in Libya and elsewhere in the Middle East shook investor confidence.
Decliners were broad-based, with shares from the materials and financials groups showing some of the heaviest losses, down 2 percent and 1.43 percent, respectively. Energy issues were an exception, as the Libyan unrest lifted crude prices.
Potash Corp POT.TO fell 4.5 percent to C$56.50, while Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) lost 2.06 percent to C$59.35.
Other notable decliners included BlackBerry maker Research in Motion RIM.TO, down 3 percent at C$66.85, while Bombardier (BBDb.TO), one of the world’s biggest aircraft makers, slipped 5.5 percent to C$6.21.
“As far as the general theme is concerned, the unrest in the Middle East is spreading and markets worldwide are pretty nervous,” said Levente Mady, market strategist at Union Securities, in Vancouver.
World stock markets fell as Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi signaled defiance of a revolt against his 41-year rule. He appeared on state television and denied he had fled the country. The uncertainty fueled a flight from risky assets. [ID:nLDE71L1CD] [MKTS/GLOB]
At 1:45 p.m. (1845 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 168.89 points, or 1.2 percent, at 13,954.22, its lowest in almost a week. Nine of the index’s 10 sectors fell.
Oil and gas shares were firm, though off early highs. Crude prices rose to their highest in 2-1/2 years on fears that political tension in Libya, a leading energy producer, could disrupt global economic growth. The energy sector was up 0.6 percent, after surging more than 2 percent earlier. [O/R] [GOL/]
“The only sector that’s positive in Canada is energy, although gold is doing fairly well,” said Michael Sprung, president at Sprung & Co Investment Counsel.
Top blue-chip gainers were almost universally from the energy group, and some safe-haven gold issues were also strong gainers.
Imperial Oil (IMO.TO) advanced 3.5 percent to C$49.81, while Husky Energy rose 1.27 percent to C$29.45. Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) added 0.8 percent to C$51.21, while Goldcorp (G.TO) was up 0.4 percent at C$44.64.
$1=$0.98 Canadian Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Peter Galloway and Frank McGurty