TSX ends lower as commodity-related stocks decline

FILE PHOTO: A sign board displaying Toronto Stock Exchange stock information is seen in Toronto

By Fergal Smith

(Reuters) -Canada's main stock index fell on Thursday as a drop in commodity prices weighed on resource shares and investors worried that a lengthy period of high interest rates could lead to problems in the global economy.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index ended down 81.70 points, or 0.4%, at 20,417.61, adding to its modest decline since the start of the week.

"People are worried about interest rates being higher for longer and everyday there is more and more focus on the problems in commercial real estate which I think are beginning to affect investors," said Michael Sprung, president at Sprung Investment Management.

"It's almost like everybody is waiting for the next shoe to drop."

U.S. benchmark the S&P 500 also closed lower, weighed by renewed worries about the health of the regional bank sector.

The Toronto market's energy sector fell 1.1% as oil settled 2.3% lower at $70.87 a barrel.

Gold and copper prices also fell, while the materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 2.9%.

CI Financial Corp was a bright spot. Its shares surged 23.2% after the fund manager sold a minority stake in its U.S. wealth management business and beat quarterly revenue estimates.

"For a long time CI was actually buying up businesses in the U.S. and now they seem to be starting to sell out some of their non-core assets and raising some capital which is what the market likes to see," said Allan Small, senior investment advisor at Allan Small Financial Group.

Among other stocks, Nutrien Ltd fell 1.6% after the company cut its annual profit forecast.

(Reporting by Fergal Smith in Toronto. Additional reporting by Johann M Cherian in Bengaluru; Editing by Shilpi Majumdar and Alistair Bell)