April 28, 2008 / 8:47 PM / in 10 years

UPDATE 2-Profit-taking drags Toronto stocks lower

(Updates official closing numbers, adds details, quotes)

TORONTO, April 28 (Reuters) - Gains on the Toronto Stock Exchange fizzled out on Monday, sending the main index slightly lower on profit-taking, following a strong run-up spurred by record high oil prices.

The energy sector, which earlier rose by as much as 1.4 percent, finished up just 0.2 percent as crude eased back from yet another new high near $120 a barrel in the wake of supply outages.

On Bay Street, the group was mixed, with Petro-Canada PCA.TO up 81 Canadian cents, or 1.6 percent, at C$50.13, while Suncor Energy SU.TO was down C$1.77, or 1.5 percent, at C$115.50.

Also in the oil patch, Synenco Energy SYN.TO climbed C$1.18, or 15.2 percent, to C$8.97 after French oil major Total TOTF.PA said it had agreed to buy the Canadian company for about C$480 million.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 18.02 points, or 0.13 percent, at 14,085.85 but the resource-laden materials sector was the only group on the downside. The benchmark had gained more than 100 points earlier in the day.

Analysts said investors were taking the opportunity to consolidate positions and lock in some profit, particularly after the nearly 140-point gain the index saw on Friday.

“Some of these things have been so strong, that the temptation is there to lock in some profits,” said Fred Ketchen, director of equity trading at ScotiaMcLeod.

Fertilizer companies Potash Corp of Saskatchewan POT.TO and Agrium AGU.TO were among the biggest decliners by weight, falling C$14.80, or 7 percent, to C$195.60, and C$5.94, or 6.6 percent, to C$84.36 respectively.

Shares of both companies have surged recently, particularly Potash Corp, which reported last week its first-quarter profit nearly tripled and upped its outlook for the rest of the year amid soaring demand and prices for fertilizer.

The declines stung the overall materials sector, which fell 3 percent. The group was also weighed down by losses in the gold producers subindex, which gave up 1.6 percent.

Agnico-Eagle Mines AEM.TO was down C$1.54, or 2.4 percent, at C$61.81, while Goldcorp G.TO lost 87 Canadian cents, or 2.3 percent, to C$36.47.

$1=$1.01 Canadian Reporting by Leah Schnurr; editing by Rob Wilson

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