Weakness in the financial sector has dragged Toronto's main index lower on Wednesday. If the losses hold, the market will close lower for the second straight session after rising in 9 of 10.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index has lost 99.43 points or 1.12% to move at 8,749.96. The decline has pulled the index further off the recently-seen multi-week high.

Financials are leading the decliners with a 2.5% drop. CIBC (CM.TO) has lost 5.1%, National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) is down 4.1%, Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) is down 3.4% and Scotiabank (BNS.TO) is down 3.1%.

Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) is donw 0.6% after the company said it intends to raise up to C$275 million through the sale of preferred shares.

On the upside, the Gold Index has rallied 2.6% to lead the way, while materials stocks are up 1.5%. On the Comex, gold finished up $12 at $935.80 per ounce. Kinross (K.TO) has rallied 3.5% and Goldcorp (G.TO) is up 2.6%.

In other corporate news, Research in Motion (RIM.TO) has lost 5.9% as a JPMorgan analyst said RIM's subscriber growth is likely to slow considerably over the next 18 months.

Ivernia (IVW.TO) has soared 37.5% after UK-based Griffin Mining revealed that it intends to make an unsolicited cash offer for the Canadian firm at a price of C$0.15 per share, totaling about C$27 million.

Hydrogenics Corp. (HYG.TO) is up 6.7% after the company reported it narrowed its fourth quarter net loss to US$1.95 million or US$0.02 per share, compared to a net loss of US$9.50 million or US$0.10 per share in the same quarter of last year.

Compton Petroleum Corp. (CMT.TO) has lost 3.1% after the company reported a net loss for the fourth quarter of C$95.94 million or C$0.74 per share, compared to net income of C$50.46 million or C$0.38 per share in the year-ago quarter.

In economic news, data released by National Bank Financial revealed the Teranet-National Bank National Composite House Price Index dropped 2.4% in the month of January.

Across the border, a Commerce Department report showed that new home sales rose 4.7 percent to an annual rate of 337,000 in February from an upwardly revised January rate of 322,000. The results surprised economists, who had been expecting sales to fall to 300,000 from the 309,000 originally reported for the previous month.

On Tuesday, the S&P/TSX Composite Index fell 109.12 or 1.21% end the session 8,849.39. Overall, the index has been trending sharply higher for the past two weeks, paring some of its massive yearly losses.

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