* TSX ends down 0.42 percent at 13,595.12
* Financials down as Greek debt woes weigh
* Materials up 1 pct as golds strengthen
By Julie Gordon
TORONTO, May 24 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index fell on Tuesday as concern about Europe’s debt crisis weighed on financial and industrial issues, while soft economic data out of the United States also hurt sentiment.
The financial sector, down nearly 1 percent, played the biggest role in leading the market lower.
Major decliners included Manulife Financial (MFC.TO), down 2.86 percent at C$17.01. Sun Life Financial (SLF.TO) slipped 2.08 percent to C$29.60, while Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) was down 1.08 percent at C$61.50.
“The European debt crisis continues to pop its head up, and that’s putting a lot of pressure on financials,” said Van Arbor Asset Management portfolio manager Youssef Zohny.
“Any potential for restructuring or default is potentially balance sheet negative for many financials.”
Europe’s policy options for averting a Greek default are narrowing fast after the European Central Bank and ratings agencies warned against voluntary debt rescheduling. [ID:nLDE74N2BJ]
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 57.15 points, or 0.42 percent, at 13,595.12.
Industrial issues, including transportation and manufacturers, also weighed, following the release of negative manufacturing data out of the United States. [ID:nN24237107]
“We’ve seen a few economic reports out of the U.S. indicate a bit of a slowdown in manufacturing, nothing too dramatic, but definitely pointing to potentially a pause in the growth cycle,” said Zohny.
Bombardier (BBDb.TO) slipped 2.38 percent to C$6.55.
Canadian National Railway (CNR.TO) shares slid 2.58 percent to C$78.11. The railway said on Tuesday that flooding caused a temporary closure at a coal dock near New Orleans, delaying shipments headed for Britain. [ID:nWEN3577]
Helping offset the decline in the TSX was a 1 percent rise in heavily weighted materials issues, which were boosted by stronger gold miners.
Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO), rose 2.82 percent to C$45.63 and played the biggest role of any single company in keeping the index from falling further. Goldcorp (G.TO) advanced 1.9 percent to C$48.39.
Gold rose to its highest price in about three weeks, as concerns about a spreading EU debt crisis fueled safe-haven buying. [GOL/] [ID:nLDE74N13G]
“It’s up around $1,525, and that’s up almost $10 on the day, so that move in itself is probably enough to account for the increase in the equities.” said Paul Burchell, an analyst with Dundee Securities. (With additional writing by Jeffrey Hodgson; editing by Rob Wilson)