* TSX down 121.65 points, or 0.83 percent, at 14,609.43
* Nine of the TSX’s 10 main groups retreat
By Solarina Ho
TORONTO, July 17 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index fell on Friday as crude prices dropped and investors took profits following five straight days of gains.
The benchmark TSX index had climbed more than 3 percent over the previous five sessions, with heavily weighted financial shares accounting for much of the gain.
“It’s profit-taking after a good run this week...after the July trough,” said Fergal Smith, managing market strategist at Action Economics. “Risk appetite has improved broadly with Chinese stocks having stabilized and Greece having reached a deal with its creditors.”
Twenty-four of the 25 biggest drags on the index came from its three most influential sectors: energy, financials and materials. In the energy group, Suncor Energy fell 1.93 percent to C$34.56; in financials Royal Bank of Canada declined 0.9 percent to C$77.19; and in the mining-heavy materials sector Barrick Gold Corp tumbled 5.4 percent to C$11.33.
Energy names retreated 1.8 percent, financial shares slid 0.7 percent, materials declined 2.5 percent.
At 10:54 a.m. EDT (1454 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 121.65 points, or 0.83 percent, at 14,609.43.
Of the index’s 10 main groups, only consumer staples were up, and just marginally.
U.S. crude headed for a third weekly loss, down about 3.6 percent so far this week. The U.S. price dropped 1.1 percent to $50.36 a barrel, while Brent crude lost 0.4 percent to $56.67.
“The energy sector is a big drag on the market today and that continues to face headwinds,” Smith said. “Crude oil is under renewed pressure with its threat of new supply, so another lag lower in crude oil would be a big headwind for the market.”
Meanwhile, gold miners were pinched as bullion prices fell to their lowest level in eight months. Gold futures were down 1.2 percent at $1,130.2 an ounce.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the TSX by 196 to 47, for a 4.17-to-1 ratio on the downside.
The index was posting five new 52-week highs and 18 new lows.
$1=$1.30 Canadian Reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by Peter Galloway