TSX stumbles on weaker commodities

Fri Oct 5, 2012 4:37pm EDT
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By Claire Sibonney

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index backed away from its highest level in nearly three weeks on Friday as concerns about weakness in the global economy hurt commodity prices, countering unexpectedly strong North American jobs data.

U.S. crude oil futures settled down nearly $2 a barrel as signs this week of slowing in the manufacturing and services sectors in Europe and China continued to weigh on investor sentiment. <O/R>

Energy stocks followed suit, falling 0.8 percent. The biggest laggards included Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote), down 0.5 percent to C$33.00, Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote), down 1.6 percent to C$30.22 and Encana Corp (ECA.TO: Quote), off 2.6 percent to C$21.27.

"Concerns remain about the outlook for global growth, particularly demand out of high-consumption emerging markets like China, so we've gotten a little bit of weakness there," said Craig Fehr, Canadian market strategist at Edward Jones in St. Louis.

"Added to that is a strengthening U.S. dollar and all that's coming together to push oil prices lower. Given the sensitivity to resource prices in the TSX we're seeing a little bit of weakness there," he added.

Gold miners were also down sharply, off 1 percent, as bullion retreated from an 11-month high. <GOL/>

Yamana Gold (YRI.TO: Quote) dropped 3.1 percent to C$18.60, Barrick Gold (ABX.TO: Quote) fell 0.6 percent to C$41.13 and Kinross Gold (K.TO: Quote) lost 2.7 percent to C$10.59.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended down 28.69 points, or 0.23 percent, to 12,418.99. Six of the 10 sectors were negative. Financials edged up 0.1 percent. Earlier, the index its strongest intraday level since September 17.   Continued...

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