* TSX down 19.73 points or 0.14 pct, at 13,993.97
* Six of TSX’s 10 main groups down
* Energy stocks down 0.88 percent (Updates with details, comments)
By Solarina Ho
TORONTO, March 22 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index slipped lower on Tuesday morning, as resource issues gave back some recent gains and many traders kept to the sidelines amid political uncertainty overseas and at home.
The energy group, which make up a little more than a quarter of the TSX index, was down 0.88 percent after finishing up 1.61 percent on Monday. The similarly weighted materials group, home to mining companies, was down 0.55 percent.
Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) was down 1.58 percent at C$47.94, while Canadian Oil Sands COS.TO slid 2.06 percent to C$31.38.
Fertilizer giant, Potash Corp POT.TO was off 1.3 percent at C$53.97 and Teck Resources TCKb.TO shed 1.66 percent to C$51.99.
“Markets are still a little nervous as to what happens with the issues that are going on around the globe and clearly the Toronto markets continues to be focused on the fallout that applies to the commodity stocks,” said Greg Eckel, senior vice-president at Morgan Meighen & Associates.
“They’ve taken a negative tone, but I think we’re still assessing and trying to figure out — short-term anyway — where all these events take us. It’s a very nervous market ... I think the fundamentals are there if we get through these ‘noise’ events.”
At 10:30 a.m. (1430 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 19.73 points or 0.14 percent, at 13,993.97, giving back some of Monday’s 1.62 percent gain.
Six of the TSX’s 10 main groups were lower. Financial stocks helped cushion the decline, rising 0.29 percent. Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) was up 1.02 percent at C$59.20.
Events in Canada and overseas continued to weigh on market sentiment and kept many investors playing wait-and-see.
An expected slowdown in Western air strikes on Libya and a respite in protests in the Middle East drove oil and gold prices lower. Some analysts saw oil as overbought, while the safe-haven appeal of gold diminished. [O/R] [GOL/] [ID:nLDE72L00C]
Meanwhile, Japan continued to battle a quake-crippled nuclear plant as radiation fears grew. [ID:nL3E7EL23A]
In domestic politics, the federal government was set to present its annual budget after markets close at 4 p.m..
It is not certain that the minority Conservative government will find the needed support from opposition legislators to pass the legislation. If the budget is defeated, an election would be called immediately.
However, fighting and political turmoil in North Africa and the Middle East are expected to put more pressure on the market than political battling in Ottawa.
“I sense that the other events have taken center stage and what can be a newsworthy event has been subdued in its importance,” said Eckel.
($1=$0.98 Canadian) (Reporting by Solarina Ho; editing by Rob Wilson)