Toronto stocks fell away from a six-week high on Tuesday as profit-takers took advantage of a recent rally. Weakness in the heavily-weighted energy and financial sectors led the way.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index fell 109.12 or 1.21% end the session 8,849.39. The index had closed higher in nine of the previous sessions.
Gold stocks fell 2.6% and materials lost 1% as the precious metal has dropped more than $30 in Comex trading. Goldcorp (G.TO) has declined 2.4% and Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM.TO) has dropped 1.2%.
Energy stocks dropped 2.7% to lead the decline. Suncor (SU.TO) plunged 7.2% while the company it agreed to buy yesterday, Petro-Canada (PCA.TO) has lost 4.7%. The companies must ask the government to revoke the Petro-Canada Public Participation Act, originally put in place in 1991, that says no single shareholder can own more than 20% of the company.
UTS (UTS.TO) lost 1.2% amid reports the CEO of Total SA does not want to increase his company's C$617 million offer for UTS.
Light sweet crude for May delivery fell 18 cents to end at $53.92 per barrel. Prices slipped as low as $52.45 earlier in the session.
The Financial Index fell 2% as National Bank (NA.TO) fell 4.9% and fellow big six bank Toronto-Dominion (TD.TO) lost 3.9%. Royal Bank (RY.TO) fell 2.2%. The lender said it plans to sell 8 million shares at C$25 each, worth a total of C$200 million.
Meanwhile, Sun Life Financial (SLF.TO) dropped 0.9% as the insurer had its credit rating reduced to A- from A+ by Fitch Ratings.
In other corporate news, MTI Global (MTI.TO) surged 50% after the company agreed to sell certain assets of its silicones business to Rogers Corp. (ROG) for US$7.4 million.
HudBay Minerals (HBM.TO) lost 8.5% after the company announced that it has named Peter Jones chief executive officer. HudBay also appointed Wesley Voorheis as chairman.
Comaplex Minerals Corp. (CMF.TO) dropped 5.9% after the company reported fourth quarter net earnings of C$328,000 or C$0.01 per share, compared to C$2.85 million or C$0.06 per share in the same quarter of last year.
Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp. (TKM.TO) dropped 7.9% after the company announced that its fiscal 2008 net loss was C$14.3 million or C$0.35 per common share, compared to a net loss of C$2.6 million or C$0.11 per common share in 2007.
Across the border, traders mulled Fed Chairman Bernanke's and Treasury Secretary Geithner's appearance before the House Financial Services Committee regarding the $200 billion rescue of AIG.
In prepared remarks, Bernanke reiterated the rescue was necessary to prevent a 1930s style meltdown, but added the recently-disclosed bonuses given to AIG executives were highly inappropriate.
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