May 11, 2012 / 12:27 PM / in 5 years

TSX resumes losing streak on China, Europe

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

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index fell for the seventh time in eight sessions on Friday as resource shares slid on a witches’ brew of Greek turmoil, slowdown fears in China and shock trading losses at JPMorgan Chase that offset strong North American data.

After a brief period in positive territory on Thursday, Canadian stocks resumed their May sell-off. Seven of the index’s 10 main sectors finished in the red, led by the heavyweight materials and energy groups, which both fell more than 1 percent.

“We’re getting positive data in North America concurrent with weaker data out of China, which has really been the linchpin to the global growth story,” said Craig Fehr, Canadian market strategist at Edward Jones in St. Louis.

Chinese industrial output expanded in April at its slowest annual pace in nearly three years. When paired with poor trade figures from Thursday, the data suggest China’s economy continues to slow after a weak first-quarter performance.

Gold miners fell along with the price of gold, which had its biggest weekly decline this year. <GOL/> Barrick Gold (ABX.TO), the world’s largest gold producer, slid 1.9 percent to C$37.09. Canada’s second largest gold firm, Goldcorp Inc (G.TO), dropped 1.5 percent to C$34.90.

Osisko Mining Corp (OSK.TO) sank nearly 13 percent to C$7.40 after the miner announced on Friday that a fire at its Canadian Malartic gold mine had forced it to shut down operations at its only operating mine.

Oil and gas losses were led by top oil producer Suncor Energy (SU.TO), which sank 1.9 percent at C$28.75. Talisman Energy TLM.TO was off 3.7 percent at C$10.86 and Encana Corp (ECA.TO) slipped 2.3 percent to C$21.24.

North American data helped offset some losses. Canada reported a surge in April jobs and U.S. consumer sentiment rose to its highest level in more than four years in early May.

However, markets were unimpressed by those numbers.

“The economy in Canada and in the U.S. isn’t growing fast enough for investors to look past tepid (China) data,” said Fehr.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 41.50 points, or 0.35 percent, at 11,694.67. It was down 1.5 percent for the week and has fallen 4.4 percent in May.

Financial stocks finished the week on a positive, up 0.4 percent, despite news that JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), the biggest U.S. bank by assets, suffered a trading loss of at least $2 billion from a failed hedging strategy.

The sector’s most influential gainers included top insurers Manulife Financial (MFC.TO), up 2.4 percent to C$12.36, and Sun Life Financial (SLF.TO), which jumped 3.3 percent to C$23.30. Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) also rose 0.4 percent to C$80.51.

Canadian banks were largely unaffected by news on Friday Greek Socialist party leader Evangelos Venizelos was unable to form a national unity government after holding last-ditch talks with rivals, which could doom a painfully constructed bailout package.

“The European situation is just a total mess,” said John Kinsey, portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities. “They’re getting new heads of state in France and maybe at some stage in Greece and there are more elections to come this year so it’s just going to be a continual source of frustration.”

($1=$1 Canadian)

Additional reporting by Claire Sibonney; Editing by Kenneth Barry

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