RTTNews - Resource stocks have dragged Toronto's main index sharply away from a six-month high on Thursday morning. The index is on pace for its first negative close of the week.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index has dropped 278.44 points or 2.72% to 9,954.00. The index had gained more than 400 points in the first two sessions of the week.

Mining stocks have dropped 5% as copper has declined 7.65 cents to $2.03 per pound. First Quantum (FM.TO) has dropped 6.4%, Teck Cominco (TCK.B.TO) is down 5.6% and HudBay (HBM.TO) has dropped 2.6%.

Energy stocks have lost 4% with crude oil falling $1.88 to $60.15 per barrel. Among the big names, Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) has lost 6.4%, Encana (ECA.TO) is down 4.7% and Suncor (SU.TO) has declined 2.8%.

Gold stocks are down 2.2% and materials stocks have declined 3.3% as the precious metal is flat for the day after an early rally.

Financials are down 1.8%. Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) is down 2% and Toronto-Dominion and CIBC (CM.TO) have both lost about 1.8%.

In corporate news, Mavrix Fund Management (MVX.TO) is up 6.5% after the company said that it has entered into deal to be acquired by 1796862 Ontario at a cash price of C$0.25 per share.

RuggedCom (RCM.TO) has gained 4% after reporting fourth quarter net income of US$3.4 million or US$0.28 per share, compared to US$2.3 million or US$0.19 per share in the prior year quarter.

Africo Resources (ARL.TO) has jumped 7%. The company announced the resignation of Tony Harwood as president and chief executive officer of the company, effective immediately.

Savvis Communications is down 0.9%. The company announced a three-year extension of its master services agreement with Thomson Reuters (TRI.TO).

In economic news, Statistics Canada revealed wholesale sales in current dollars fell 0.6% to $40.5 billion in March. Declining sales in the building materials and machinery and electronic equipment sectors were important factors contributing to this decrease. In terms of the volume of sales, wholesale sales were down 1.3%.

Meanwhile, the Globe and Mail reported Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will reveal credit-card rules today, on the heels of a similar announcement by the U.S. Congress yesterday.

Across the border, the Labor Department revealed that initial jobless claims came in at 631,000 for the week ended May 16th. This was down 12,000 from the previous week's revised total of 643,000.

Continuing claims climbed to 6.662 million - yet another record high.

On Wednesday, the S&P/TSX Composite Index gained 131.49 points or 1.3% to end at 10,232.44. The market reached a seven-month intraday high of 10,365.39 in the mid-morning.

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