CANADA STOCKS-Weak China, Europe data hits Toronto stocks

Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:33pm EDT
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* TSX down 74.68 points at 12,361.81
    * 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 retreated on Thursday alongside global stock markets as
weak Chinese and euro zone manufacturing data sparked concerns
that global economic growth is slowing. 	
    Chinese manufacturing slumped for a fifth month in March,
and manufacturing in the euro zone showed new signs of wilting,
according to surveys on Thursday. The soft manufacturing picture
helped to push down oil and base metals prices, as well as
broader global equity markets.   	
    In Toronto, heavyweight names on the downside included
Canadian Natural Resources, down 3.4 percent at
C$33.80, and Suncor Energy, which fell 1.8 percent to
C$32.47, as the price of oil skidded 1 percent. Teck Resources
 fell 1.8 percent to C$35.05, and First Quantum 
skidded 3 percent to C$19.13.	
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 finished down 74.68 points, or 0.6 percent, at
12,361.81, with six of the index's 10 main sectors lower.	
    The index is up about 3 percent so far this year. 	
    "The market has had a nice run so it didn't take very much
to have a setback here," said Irwin Michael, portfolio manager
at ABC Funds.	
    "The Chinese numbers that came out were not totally
unexpected. We knew things just can't keep on growing at 10 and
11 percent," he said. "Europe is no surprise. If they are not in
recession they will be there shortly." 	
    The blue-chip SoS&P/TSX 60 ended down 3.37 points, or 0.48
percent, at 705.52.	
    "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
latest evidence the U.S. labor market is gaining traction.
    In company news, shares of Lululemon Athletica Inc. 
rose 3.3 percent to C$75.95 after the yoga-wear retailer said
fourth-quarter profits rose smartly and sales in established
stores jumped 26 percent. But it offered a disappointing
full-year profit outlook and said its margins narrowed.
    Air Canada shares fell 3.5 percent at 82 Canadian
cents a day after Quebec's government said 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.