* TSX slides 51.95 points to 8,797.44
* Lower oil prices rattle energy shares
* Weak bond auctions drags on sentiment (Adds details, comments and official numbers)
By Frank Pingue
TORONTO, March 25 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index closed lower on Wednesday as a slide in oil prices shook the weighty energy sector while disappointing debt auctions rattled U.S. stocks and hurt sentiment in Canada.
Oil prices fell after U.S. data showed crude stocks were at their highest since 1993, which sparked a selloff in the energy stocks that make up about 22 percent of Toronto’s key index.
Shares of EnCana Corp (ECA.TO) fell 2.5 percent to close at C$53.12, while Nexen Inc NXY.TO shares tumbled 4 percent to end the session at C$20.41.
Also weighing on investor sentiment was an auction that showed weak demand for the U.S. Treasury’s five-year notes. Britain saw its first failed government debt auction since 2002. [ID:nLP365058] and [ID:nLP365058]
“The markets came out of the gate a little strong and when there was no follow through in the morning, that coupled with weak Treasury auctions and people started to take profits,” said Bruce Latimer, trader at Dundee Securities.
“But after the move on Monday we are still up on the week so it’s just a bit of a consolidation period and so I am not really too concerned about it.”
The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE unofficially ended down 51.95 points, or 0.59 percent, at 8,797.44, off from a session high that had the TSX up 1.5 percent about one hour after the open.
$1=$1.23 Canadian Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson