By Alastair Sharp
TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index slipped on Wednesday, ending a six-session rally, as strong results from the country's two big railways failed to offset heavy losses in banking, energy and mining stocks.
"It's a bipolar market today. It's difficult for the index to get any traction when the three biggest groups are down," said Elvis Picardo, portfolio manager at Global Securities in Vancouver.
The financial, energy and materials groups combined account for more than 70 percent of the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index <.GSPTSE>, which ended down 4.74 points, or 0.04 percent, at 13,243.32.
Strong gains for the railways limited the index's loss. Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd
Canadian National Railway Co
The railways should prosper as the economy grows but the potential for growing opposition to their carriage of oil is a concern, said Rick Hutcheon, president and chief operating officer at RKH Investments.
"A great deal of the current growth in their earnings is coming from oil-by-rail," he said.
Mining had the heaviest losses as the price of gold slipped after hitting four-week highs a day earlier. Copper prices also fell.
First Quantum Minerals Ltd
Oil and gas stocks also weighed heavily, pressured by ample supplies and expectations of a further inventory buildup in the United States, the world's top consumer.
Suncor Energy Inc
But Encana Corp, which is restructuring under a new CEO, rose 1.9 percent to C$19.15 after it reported its second straight quarterly profit.
Elsewhere, CGI Group
(Editing by Peter Galloway)