CANADA STOCKS-TSX falls as weak China, Europe data hits resources

Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:28am EDT
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* TSX down 66.99 points, or 0.54 percent, at 12,369.50
    * Manufacturing data hurts oil, base metals
    * Lululemon rises after results; offers weaker outlook

    By Jennifer Kwan	
    TORONTO, March 22 (Reuters) - Toronto's resource-heavy stock
index sank o n T hursday morning, mirroring the performance of
global stock markets, as weak Chinese and euro zone
manufacturing data sparked concerns about slowing global
economic growth.      	
    Chinese manufacturing slumped for a fifth month in March and
the euro zone economy is showing new signs of wilting, according
to surveys on Thursday that pointed to weakening global demand.
That soft manufacturing picture helped to push down oil and base
metals prices, as well as broader global equity markets.
    In Toronto, big names on the downside included Canadian
Natural Resources, lower by 2.8 percent at C$34.00, and
Suncor Energy, which fell 0.9 percent to C$32.75. Base
metals miner Quantum Minerals sank 3.3 percent to
C$19.08 and Teck Resources fell 1.6 percent to
    "The overseas China and euro zone PMIs have been a major
driver with the disappointing contracting readings. That's
overshadowed another drop in U.S. jobless claims," said Fergal
Smith, managing market strategist at Action Economics.	
    Data on Thursday showed the number of Americans claiming new
unemployment benefits dropped to a four-year low last week. The
report added further evidence the jobs market recovery was
gaining traction. 	
    At around 10:10 a.m. (1410 GMT), the Toronto Stock
Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was down 66.99
points, or 0.54 percent, at 12,369.50. Seven of the TSX index's
10 main sectors fell.	
    In individual company news, shares of Lululemon Athletica
Inc. rose 1.1 percent to C$74.33 after the yoga-wear
retailer said fourth quarter profits rose smartly and sales in
established stores jumped 26 percent, while revenue overall
climbed 51 percent. But it also offered a disappointing
full-year profit outlook and said its margins narrowed.
    Air Canada, down 2.4 percent at 83 Canadian cents,
was in the spotlight as Quebec's government said on Wednesday it
was considering taking legal action against both Air Canada and
the federal government to keep operations going at the Montreal
facility that services the airline's planes.