(Adds portfolio manager comment, updates prices to close)
* TSX ends down 67.60 points, or 0.50 percent, at 13,493.49
* Seven of the TSX’s 10 main groups fall
By Alastair Sharp
TORONTO, March 22 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index ended lower on Tuesday, with losses for financial, industrial and materials stocks partially offset by gains for energy companies and utilities.
The index recovered some losses in afternoon trade after deadly blasts in Brussels had prompted a flight to safe-haven assets.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index settled down 67.60 points, or 0.50 percent, at 13,493.49. Seven of its 10 main sectors retreated.
Travel-related stocks fell, with Air Canada down 2.3 percent at C$8.95 and Westjet Airlines Ltd lost 2.6 percent at C$19.50. Canadian National Railway fell 2.4 percent to C$79.56. Industrials fell 1.4 percent.
Rick Hutcheon, president and chief operating officer at RKH Investments, said the index has likely turned a corner from a January trough but that investors can expect choppy moves higher from here.
“You’re going to see a hopscotch market, I don’t think the whole market’s going to go all at once,” he said. “It’s going to be very rotational.”
“The oil sector is probably a good place to be right now for a long-term bet,” he added. “If you have the long-term horizon, it’s probably time to start tip-toeing back into the high-quality names.”
Canadian Natural Resources gained 1.2 percent to C$36.03 and TransCanada Corp rose 1.4 percent to C$49.13, even as oil settled little changed. The overall energy sector was slightly lower.
Veresen Inc advanced 7.2 percent to C$9.27 after the energy company said it would pay a dividend.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for suicide bomb attacks on Brussels airport and a rush-hour metro train in the Belgian capital on Tuesday which killed at least 30 people, with police hunting a suspect who fled the air terminal.
The most influential weights on the Canadian index also included some of the biggest banks, with Royal Bank of Canada falling 0.7 percent to C$74.79 and Toronto-Dominion Bank off 0.6 percent at C$55.35.
The financials group slipped 0.6 percent.
Investors had been waiting on a federal budget released after the close that showed Canada’s new Liberal government would run a deficit nearly three times larger than promised during last year’s election, with no target date for returning to a balanced budget. (Reporting by Alastair Sharp Editing by W Simon and James Dalgleish)