* TSX closes down 13.65 points to 14,122.85
* Eight of 10 sectors lower
(Updates to close, adds details, quotes)
By Claire Sibonney
TORONTO, March 1 Toronto's main stock index
retreated from its highest level in almost three years on
Tuesday, pulled lower by economic worries sparked by surging
oil prices, even as gold hit a record peak.
U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the run-up
in crude prices was unlikely to derail the U.S. economy, but
his comments did little to reassure investors worried that
turmoil in the Middle East could affect Saudi Arabia, the
world's largest oil exporter. [ID:nN01145792]
Economically sensitive financials were down 0.7 percent
despite solid results from Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) and the
Bank of Canada keeping interest rates on hold, as expected.
BMO ended 0.3 percent lower at C$61.77 while
Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) dropped 1.7 percent to C$79.93.
"It's more a question of the leverage that Canadian
financial institutions have to the broader economy, and any
hint of weakness would translate into profit-taking in that
group," said Elvis Picardo, an analyst and strategist at Global
Securities in Vancouver.
The fact that U.S. markets were down sharply also helped to
take the steam out of the TSX's stronger start, said Picardo.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
.GSPTSE closed down 13.65 points, or 0.1 percent, at
14,122.85. Eight of its 10 main groups were lower. Earlier in
the day, the TSX rose as high as 14,213.21, its best showing
since July 2008.
The energy group drifted 0.2 percent lower, swayed by
worries over global growth, despite U.S. crude futures ending
above $99 a barrel. [O/R]
Suncor Energy (SU.TO) however still closed up 0.2 percent
"There are different variables in terms of pricing out an
oil stock. It's going to move in conjunction with the market as
well as the oil price," said John Kurgan, senior market
strategist at commodity futures brokerage Lind-Waldock Canada.
He added that profit-taking was a factor in the energy
Offsetting the broader decline, gold miners climbed 2.1
percent as bullion prices rose above $1,432 an ounce on
safe-haven buying, spurred by the unrest in North Africa and
the Middle East.
Goldcorp (G.TO) bounced up 3.6 percent to C$48.07, while
Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) gained 2.2 percent to C$52.41. The
broader materials group, home to gold miners, rallied 1.2
Base-metal miners, another materials component, fell 1
percent as the price of copper snapped a three-day advance.
(Reporting by Claire Sibonney; editing by Rob Wilson)