TSX hits one-week low on Encana slide, European data

Thu Feb 14, 2013 4:50pm EST
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By Claire Sibonney

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index fell to a more than one-week low on Thursday as energy stocks declined after data showed Europe falling deeper into recession, offsetting a rise in Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO: Quote) as investors found a silver lining in its big quarterly loss.

Encana Corp (ECA.TO: Quote), Canada's largest natural gas producer, plunged 6.6 percent to C$18.20 after it offered a 2013 production target for oil and natural gas liquids that was lower than expected. It played the biggest role of any stock in leading the market lower.

The market tracked data that showed the German economy contracted by 0.6 percent in the last three months of 2012, its worst performance since the global financial crisis was raging in 2009. The French economy contracted 0.3 percent, a slightly worse performance than expected.

The figures made 2012 the first full year since 1995 in which no quarter produced economic growth in the euro zone.

"It's a small hiccup in Europe's longer-term growth picture ... but it does have a short-term impact on the TSX," said Victor Kuntzevitsky, an associate at Northland Wealth Management.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended down 53.49 points, or 0.42 percent, at 12,721.79, its lowest closing level since February 4.

Seven of the 10 main sectors on the index were weaker.

The energy sector lost 1.6 percent and played the biggest role in leading the market lower as oil price moves remained choppy. <O/R>   Continued...

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