TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index fell sharply on Wednesday, coming off the 19-month high it reached a day earlier, as investors fled heavyweight energy, bank and mining stocks, while BlackBerryhelped offset the losses after announcing a big order.
In a distinct break from the performance of U.S. stock markets, the resources-rich Canadian index posted a broad decline as commodity prices slipped and some of the country's big banks weighed heavily.
Power Financial Corpfell 3.2 percent to C$26.53 after the family-controlled holding company's profit fell on disappointing results at its mutual fund and insurance units.
"There is some disappointment about Power's numbers, which were not especially inspiring," said Gavin Graham, president at Graham Investment Strategy. "But it's very largely the golds and the materials."
The index's materials sector, which includes gold miners, has retreated some 15 percent this year, and its members were again among the heaviest weights on Wednesday. Among them, Goldcorp Incfell 2.5 percent to C$33.12 and Teck Resources Ltdlost 2 percent to C$30.98.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite indexended down 134.47 points, or 1.04 percent, at 12,744.11. That was its sharpest one-day move in either direction since November.
The selloff followed a steady rise since a mid-November trough, though the TSX has underperformed U.S. indexes over the period. The S&P 500 , Nasdaqand Dowall eked out minor gains on Wednesday.
"We've come a long way. The stock market can't go up every single day," said Craig Fehr, Canadian market strategist at Edward Jones in St. Louis, Missouri.
"It's reasonable for investors to start to expect a little more volatility or potentially even a pullback in the near term," he said.
By far the biggest positive mover was BlackBerry , which surged late in the day to end up 8.2 percent at C$16.04 after the smartphone maker said a partner had ordered 1 million BlackBerry 10 devices.
Royal Bank of Canadawas the single biggest weight, down 1.7 percent at C$61.45. Bank of Nova Scotiafell 1 percent to C$60.07, and Toronto-Dominion Bankwas 0.8 percent lower at C$84.23.
(Additional reporting by John Tilak; Editing by Peter Galloway)