* TSX down 27.96 points, or 0.2 percent, at 14,011.43
* Seven of the index’s 10 main groups lower
* Oil and gas, mining lead declines; financials up (Updates with details, comments)
By Solarina Ho
TORONTO, March 28 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index fell on Monday as commodity prices retreated from recent lofty levels, driving energy and mining shares into negative territory.
The most influential decliners were all mining and energy companies, which combine to make up roughly 50 percent of the index.
Goldcorp (G.TO) dipped 0.77 percent to C$47.55, while Agnico Eagle (AEM.TO) was down 1.61 percent at C$65.34. Suncor Energy (SU.TO) was off 0.88 percent at C$43.73 and Nexen Inc NXY.TO fell 1.31 percent to C$24.04.
The materials sector, home to mining companies, was down 0.65 percent while oil and gas stocks were off 0.31 percent.
Comments last Friday by Federal Reserve officials that the central bank will have to raise interest rates in the “not-too-distant future” to avoid inflation and easing worries over unrest in the Middle East region pressured oil and gold prices.
Bullion fell more than 1 percent, briefly slipping below $1,410 an ounce and crude oil prices were down about a dollar.[GOL/] [ID:nLDE72O1T3] [O/R]
“Energy prices -it’s a double edged sword. Obviously oil and gas companies benefit from higher energy prices, yet if the price is too high, then it has a potential negative effect on the economy as as whole,” said Peter Chandler, senior vice-president and director at Canaccord Wealth Management.
“Given those constraints, the market’s are not going to move out of the trading range that it’s in right now. We are ending up with a market that’s not up very much and not down very much.”
At 10:23 a.m. (1523 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 27.96 points, or 0.2 percent, at 14,011.43. Seven of the index’s 10 main groups were in the red.
Renewed worries about Japan’s crisis also pinched copper prices. The metal, used in construction and power, was down roughly six percent since hitting a record high of $10,190 on Feb. 15.
Diversified miner Teck Resources TCKb.TO was down 1.29 percent.
“The market is in a transitionary period here and trying to digest all this uncertainty in news,” said Chandler.
Financials, which make up roughly a third of the index, were among the lone gainers, rising 0.21 percent, and helped cap some of the losses.
Toronto Dominion Bank (TD.TO) was a lead advancer, rising 0.39 percent to C$84.78. National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) was up 1.1 percent at C$76.90.
($1=$0.98 Canadian) (Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)