U.S. jobs data sends TSX to 2012 low

Fri May 4, 2012 5:19pm EDT
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By Jon Cook

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's resource-heavy main stock index tumbled to a 2012 low on Friday as energy and financial shares sank after data showed slower U.S. job creation and a euro zone economy on the edge of another recession.

Markets were rattled by soft employment numbers from the United States, as much-anticipated April nonfarm payrolls rose 115,000, well below the consensus forecast of 170,000.

The third straight monthly decline in hiring growth spurred concerns that the economy of Canada's biggest trading partner is losing momentum.

"The catalyst for today's (drop) is the job numbers," said John Kinsey, portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities Ltd. "That kind of got the ball rolling and it's never recovered."

Nine of the 10 main sectors in Canada's stock market were down, led by a 2.7 percent drop in the heavily weighted energy group as U.S. crude slid below $100 a barrel for the first time since February. <O/R>

"These oil stocks are just being trashed," said Kinsey.

Canadian energy stocks were down 4.1 percent for the week and have fallen more than 7 percent this year.

Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote) was the biggest drag on the sector, falling 3.7 percent to C$31.71. The oil and gas producer reported a jump in first-quarter profit on Thursday, but investors were unimpressed.   Continued...

A Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) logo is seen in Toronto November 9, 2007. REUTERS/Mark Blinch