TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index dropped on Wednesday to its lowest level in eight months, as sluggish U.S. economic data fed concerns about the global economy and oil prices slid again.
The benchmark TSX has fallen into official correction territory, down more than 11 percent since hitting a record high last month. The index has racked up a decline of more than 1 percent in the last five of six sessions.
The declines on Bay Street were part of a global equity rout as investors fretted about a drop in Chinese inflation and the global economy. Markets were also trying to gauge when the Federal Reserve will start to raise U.S. interest rates.
News that a second Texas nurse has contracted Ebola added to the overall risk aversion and investors fled to safer assets.
A fall in U.S. retail sales in September and a drop in U.S. producer prices raised questions about the strength of the recovery in the world's biggest economy.
"The worry is that the only bright spot, which is the U.S. economy, could be dragged down," said Marcus Xu, portfolio manager at M.Y. Capital Management Corp in Vancouver.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended down 166.80 points, or 1.19 percent, at 13,869.88. All of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the red.
The financial sector, which had been a market leader to the upside, was one of the worst hit, down 2.5 percent. A handful of banks were the biggest drags on the index, including Toronto Dominion Bank (TD.TO), which lost 2.6 percent to C$51.24, while Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) dropped 1.9 percent to C$77.26.
"What's the one engine of growth you have out there? It's the United States, and now some people are starting to doubt that," said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier.
"Investors are nervous," he added. "It's easy to get on board when you see a trend. The trend recently has been weakness."
Worries about sluggish demand for oil have sent the price of the commodity into a tailspin in the past three months. The price of U.S. crude oil CLc1 settled down 6 cents at $81.78 a barrel.
Shares of energy producers lost 0.6 percent, with Talisman Energy Inc TLM.TO down 3.2 percent to C$7.23.
Editing by David Gregorio