* TSX down 70.69 points at 11,371.33
* Energy players rattled by lower oil price
* Potash shares slip after sharp drop in profit (Adds details and comments)
By Frank Pingue
TORONTO, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index was lower on Thursday morning as a drop in oil prices weighed on energy shares, while Potash Corp POT.TO was dumped after reporting a lower quarterly profit.
Shares of Suncor Energy (SU.TO), the biggest drag on the index, were down 1.9 percent at C$38.93, while fellow oil company Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) dropped 1.5 percent to C$74.94.
Oil prices fell below $81 a barrel as a stronger U.S. dollar encouraged investors to lock in profits after oil hit a 12-month high on Wednesday. [O/R]
Potash Corp of Saskatchewan shares were down 1.45 percent at C$105.69 after the world’s largest fertilizer producer reported its third-quarter profit fell 80 percent. [ID:nN22505738]
At 10:10 a.m. (1410 GMT), the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 70.69 points, or 0.62 percent, at 11,371.33. Early in the session the TSX had bounced on either side of the break-even line before heading lower.
The TSX remains about 52 percent above the five-year low it hit in March.
“The market is really just debating now whether the economy has really turned around,” said Sal Masionis, stockbroker at Brant Securities.
($1=$1.05 Canadian) (Reporting by Frank Pingue; editing by Peter Galloway)