Insurance and bank stocks weigh on Toronto stock index, as loonie edges up

TORONTO _ Canada’s largest stock index finished in the red for the third consecutive day, as banks and insurance companies lost ground.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index fell 42.83 points to 16,039.26, with the financials sector down about three-quarters of a point.

All the big banks reported losses as did major insurers such as Manulife Financial Corp. (TSX:MFC) and Fairfax Financial Holdings (TSX:FFH).

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average declined 39.73 points to 23,422.21. The S&P 500 index edged down 2.32 points to 2,582.30 and the Nasdaq composite index eked out 0.89 of a point at 6,750.94.

The Canadian dollar was trading at an average price of 78.85 cents US, up 0.06 of a U.S. cent.

In commodities, the December crude contract gave back 43 cents at US$56.74 per barrel and the December natural gas contract was up a cent at US$3.21 per mmBTU.

The December gold contract fell $13.30 to US$1,274.20 an ounce and the December copper contract was down a cent to US$3.08 a pound.