*TSX falls 0.41 percent to 13,410.20
*Material, energy groups give up some of Wednesday’s gains
*Potash rises almost 3 percent on earnings, stock split
*Shoppers falls more 5 percent on CEO resignation (Adds details)
By Ka Yan Ng
TORONTO, Jan 27 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index closed lower on Thursday as easing precious metal and oil prices dragged down its hefty materials and energy sectors.
Although seven of the index’s 10 main sectors advanced, the energy sector closed down 0.9 percent, while the mining-heavy materials sector shed 1.59 percent.
Top decliners included Barrick Gold (ABX.TO), down 3.3 percent at C$46.02, while diversified miner Teck Resources TCKb.TO lost 2.92 percent to C$59.13. Suncor Energy (SU.TO) fell 1.4 percent to C$38.55, and fellow oil company Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) dropped 1.74 percent to C$41.90.
The price of gold slid to a three-month low on retreating investor appetite for the precious metal and on growing expectations of rising interest rates, which would ultimately make bullion a less attractive investment. Silver prices also declined.[ID:nLDE70Q148] [GOL/]
U.S. crude oil futures fell nearly 2 percent on pressure from a rise in U.S. jobless claims as well as Kuwaiti and International Energy Agency remarks about more output from OPEC. [ID:nL3E7CR07M] [O/R]
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE fell 55.55 points, or 0.41 percent, to end at 13,410.20.
“There’s a little bit of volatility in the commodities in general. Most of the commodity producers have had quite a large run and are consolidating those gains, and figuring out where to go from here,” said Youssef Zohny, associate portfolio manager at Van Arbor Asset Management. “We’re seeing a little bit of profit-taking as well.”
On Wednesday, resources shares carried the index to a gain of more than 200 points and a one-week high.
Financials were among key advancers on Thursday, up 0.48 percent, with Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) rising 1.06 percent to C$53.46, while Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) advanced 0.85 percent to C$56.63. Manulife Financial (MFC.TO) gained 0.97 percent to C$17.76.
“It’s like a teeter-totter, one sector goes down, then the other will go up,” said Irwin Michael, portfolio manager at ABC Funds. “The materials, oil and gas are down. The interest-sensitives appear to be up. The market remains very volatile.”
Potash Corp (POT.TO) led heavyweight blue-chip advancers, with its shares rising 2.92 percent to C$172.26 after it announced a doubling of quarterly earnings as well as a stock split and a higher dividend. Early in the session, it was up more than 5.5 percent. [ID:nN27232194]
Shoppers Drug Mart SC.TO was one of the biggest net losers, falling 5.08 percent to C$37.19 after it surprised investors late Wednesday by announcing Chief Executive Jurgen Schreiber was resigning. RBC downgraded the pharmacy chain on Thursday following the news. [ID:nN26187339]
($1=$0.99 Canadian) (Additional reporting by Solarina Ho and Claire Sibonney; editing by Rob Wilson and Peter Galloway)