April 28, 2009 / 2:19 PM / 9 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX drops as swine flu rattles sentiment

* TSX index down 70.02 points at 9,324.78

* Swine flu concerns weigh on sentiment

* Lower oil and gold prices also drag on TSX (Adds details and comments)

By Frank Pingue

TORONTO, April 28 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index was lower on Tuesday morning, pulled down by a mix of lower oil prices, fears about the stability of the U.S. financial sector, and pressing concerns about swine flu.

The energy sector was down 0.9 percent as oil prices fell on expectations of a further drop in demand as well as a decline in profit at Petro-Canada PCA.TO. [ID:nN27537864] [ID:nN28348138]

Shares of Petro-Canada were off 0.75 percent at C$37.30, while shares of Suncor Energy (SU.TO), which is in the process of taking over Petro-Canada, were down 1.5 percent at C$30.00.

New Zealand and Israel confirmed cases of swine flu on Tuesday to become the latest countries hit by the virus, which has killed 149 people in Mexico. [ID:nLS803449] Canada issued a travel advisory warning against nonessential travel to Mexico.

The materials sector, home to gold-mining stocks, led all sectors lower with a 2 percent fall and was a key drag on the index as bullion dropped 2.5 percent on technical selling. [ID:nLS545488]

The financials sector, which accounts for about 33 percent of the broader index, was bouncing around the break-even level after a Wall Street Journal report said Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) and Citigroup Inc (C.N) may need more capital. [ID:nSP265157]

Shares of Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) were down 0.4 percent at C$47.29, while insurer Manulife Financial (MFC.TO) dropped 0.6 percent to C$19.90.

“There’s a little uncertainty out of New York with possibly the Bank of America and Citigroup having to recapitalize, and that’s spreading into Canadian financials,” said Bruce Latimer, trader at Dundee Securities. “And also there’s the uncertainty with the swine flu.”

At 10:00 a.m. (1400 GMT), the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 70.02 points, or 0.75 percent, at 9,324.78. Earlier it had fallen as much as 1.3 percent to 9,273.80, its lowest level in nearly a week.

$1=$1.22 Canadian Editing by Peter Galloway

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