TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index fell on Monday as weakness in commodity prices and worries about the pace of growth in China’s economy weighed on sentiment, pulling down shares in every major sector.
Some economists cut their 2014 growth projections for China after figures released over the weekend indicated that growth in factory output in the world’s second-biggest economy slowed in August.
The pessimism about China, the world’s biggest metals consumer, weighed on base metal prices and crude and in turn hurt the resource-focused Canadian index.
“We are so dependent on oil, so that hasn’t been helping. Oil is really more important than anything else at this time,” said Douglas Davis, chief executive officer at Davis-Rea.
Brent crude LCOc1 hit a 26-month low while U.S. crude CLc1 bounced off a 16-month low from last week as fears about tepid demand persisted.
“Even though there are threats in the Islamic world and Russia and so on, they’re not enough to disturb the oil market,” Davis said.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE extended last week’s slip, ended the day down 49.02 points, or 0.32 percent, at 15,482.56. All 10 main sectors on the index were in the red.
The index, however, is still up about 14 percent this year.
Shares in WestJet Airlines Ltd (WJA.TO) bucked the trend, jumping 6.2 percent to C$32.58 after the company said it will start charging some economy passengers for their first checked bag. Air Canada’s ACb.TO stock also jumped, up 6.7 percent to C$9.05.
Financials, the index’s most heavily weighted sector, gave back 0.2 percent, with Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) losing 0.3 percent to C$81.88 and Manulife Financial Corp (MFC.TO) down 0.9 percent to C$22.04.
The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, shed 0.5 percent. First Quantum Minerals Ltd (FM.TO) dropped 4 percent to C$23.16, and Teck Resources Ltd TCKb.TO fell 1.5 percent to C$23.34.
“The market is fully priced. There’s enough uncertainty out there, and now you’ve got the potential for the Scots to split off,” said David Cockfield, managing director and portfolio manager at Northland Wealth Management, referring to a Scottish independence vote on Thursday.
“There’s not a lot of incentive to rush out and buy in this market,” he added. “The market is directionless, and if it’s bad news it reacts pretty quickly.”
Investors are also awaiting commentary from the Federal Reserve this week about its plans to raise U.S. interest rates.
Additional reporting by John Tilak; Editing by James Dalgleish