TSX falls most in 10 weeks as oil slump hurts energy stocks

Mon Dec 7, 2015 4:39pm EST
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By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index took its biggest one-day loss in 10 weeks on Monday, pummeled by slumping energy stocks as oil prices fell to their lowest in almost seven years following OPEC's decision to keep crude production high.

Oil ministers from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries dropped any reference to the group's output ceiling for the first time in decades on Friday, highlighting disagreement among members about how to accommodate Iranian barrels once Western sanctions are lifted.

"Everybody was hoping against hope on Friday that OPEC would come to its senses and manage their business a little bit better than they have been," said John Kinsey, portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities Ltd.

Brent and U.S. crude settled at or near February 2009 lows, and Canada's heavyweight oil and gas sector tumbled 5.9 percent. [O/R]

Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote) fell 6.2 percent to C$28.80 and Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO: Quote) declined 3.5 percent to C$34.77.

The slump appeared contagious, with financials off 1.8 percent and materials stocks losing 3.3 percent as gold and copper prices also pulled back.

"The banks, I guess because of the loans they have to the oil companies, are all down quite a bit," Kinsey said. "The minerals, not to be left out, are having sympathy pains and they're all down too."

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 315.94 points, or 2.37 percent, at 13,042.83. That was its sharpest one-day loss since Sept. 28.   Continued...

A man walks past an old Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) sign in Toronto, June 23, 2014.    REUTERS/Mark Blinch