TSX slides as trade war fears weigh on energy and financials

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index fell on Monday, led by energy and financial shares, as oil prices tumbled and investors worried about an escalating trade war between the United States and China.

FILE PHOTO - A sign board displaying Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) stock information is seen in Toronto June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index, which fell 5.2 percent in the first quarter, closed down 153.84 points, or 1.0 percent, at 15,213.45.

Losses for the index came as U.S. stocks plunged. Investors on Wall Street fled technology shares amid resurging trade worries.

China raised tariffs by up to 25 percent on U.S. products, in response to U.S. duties on aluminum and steel imports.

Eight of the index’s 10 main groups ended lower.

The energy group fell 2.2 percent as crude oil prices slumped. U.S. crude oil futures settled nearly 3 percent lower at $63.01 a barrel. [O/R]

Financials declined 0.9 percent and information technology retreated 1.7 percent.

The largest percentage gainer on the index was Transcontinental Inc, which rose 9.7 percent, while the largest decliner was Prometic Life Sciences Inc, down 15.9 percent.

Gold futures benefited from demand for safe haven assets, rising 1.3 percent to $1,340.2 an ounce.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 0.1 percent.

The TSX posted four new 52-week highs and 10 new lows.

Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Lisa Shumaker