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* TSX falls 247.73 points, or 1.57 percent, to 15,533.47
* All TSX's 10 main groups retreat in sharpest fall since
* Energy group falls more than 3 percent
By Alastair Sharp
TORONTO, Feb 24 Canada's benchmark stock index
slumped on Friday, dropping by the most in over five months in a
sharp pullback from a record high set earlier in the week, as
heavily-weighted energy and financial stocks led a broad-based
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
ended down 247.73 points, or 1.57 percent, at
15,533.47, its sharpest one-day loss since Sept. 13.
All of the index's 10 main industry groups finished in the
red, with the energy and financials groups - which account for
55 percent of the index's weight - down 3.2 percent and 1.4
Investors struggled to explain the severity of the declines,
which contrasted with small gains on Wall Street, but also did
not express surprise or concern.
"When you look at the run we've had, you've going to see a
day like today, it's inevitable," said Allan Small, a senior
investment advisor at HollisWealth Inc.
"We'll need a few days of this in a row for me to think
there's been a change in the momentum," he added.
Royal Bank of Canada shares dropped 1.7 percent to
C$96.61 despite beating forecasts with its first quarterly
earnings of more than C$3 billion.
Other heavyweight bank stocks fell by similar degrees.
Suncor Energy Inc, Canada's largest oil and gas
producer, fell 3.8 percent to C$41.24.
Oil prices fell about 1 percent as worries about rising U.S.
supplies outweighed OPEC pledges to boost compliance with curbs
Husky Energy Inc shed 5.5 percent to C$15.50 even
as the oil and gas producer reported a smaller-than-expected
quarterly loss excluding one-time items.
The company is mulling paring down its stakes in some of its
eastern Canadian offshore assets, in a move that could fetch
several billion dollars, people familiar with the talks told
Auto parts maker Magna International Inc tumbled 4.7
percent to C$56.43 after its profit missed estimates and it
warned that a proposed U.S. border tax could hurt its operations
Shares in MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates Ltd
tumbled 7.3 percent to C$63.96 after the company said it would
buy U.S.-based DigitalGlobe Inc for about C$3.1 billion
to strengthen its position in the satellite imagery market.
The materials group, which includes precious and base metal
miners and fertilizer companies, fell 1.4 percent, even as gold
climbed to its highest in 3-1/2 months.
Canada's annual inflation rate jumped to a
stronger-than-expected 2.1 percent in January, its highest in
more than two years.
(Additional reporting by Fergal Smith, editing by G Crosse)