CANADA STOCKS-TSX hits 2012 low after U.S. jobs data

Fri May 4, 2012 11:15am EDT
 
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* TSX down 173.76 pts, or 1.45 pct, at 11,841.14
    * Lowest level since Dec. 30, 2011
    * Energy and financial shares lead losses
    * U.S. jobs data disappoints

    By Jon Cook	
    TORONTO, May 4 (Reuters) - Canada's resource-heavy main
stock index touched its lowest point this year on Friday as
energy and financial shares slid after disappointing U.S. April
jobs data raised doubt about the economic recovery of Canada's
largest trading partner.	
    Markets were again rattled by soft employment numbers from
the United States, as Friday's much anticipated April nonfarm
payrolls rose 115,000, but well below the consensus forecast of
170,000. 	
    The Labor Department report followed on the heels of
Thursday's Institute for Supply Management data that revealed a
slowdown last month in the vast U.S. services sector and
Wednesday's ADP data that showed U.S. private-sector employment
slowed last month. 	
    In Canada's stock market, nine of the 10 main sectors were
down, led by a 2.7 percent drop in the heavily-weighted energy
group as Brent crude oil prices fell to three-month lows after
the U.S. data. 	
    "That would be a bigger drag on Canada given the makeup of
our index," said Paul Hand, managing director at RBC Capital
Markets.	
    Canadian Natural Resources was the biggest drag on
the sector, falling more than 4 percent to C$31.39 a day after
the oil and gas producer reported its first-quarter profit
jumped, but investors were still unimpressed. The company's
shares were also hurt by a price downgrade by TD
Securities.  	
    Suncor Energy, Canada's largest oil producer, slid
2.4 percent to C$30.56 and Cenovus Energy dropped 3
percent to C$32.92.  	
    At 10:49 a.m. (1449 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's
S&P/TSX composite index was down 173.76 points, or
1.45 percent, at 11,841.14, its lowest level since December 30.	
    The TSX was down more than 3 percent for the week and on
track for its biggest weekly dip this year.	
    Instability in Europe ahead of the outcome of this weekend's
French and Greek elections was also weighing on markets. 	
    Financial shares were off nearly 2 percent, led by Canada's
two largest banks. Royal Bank of Canada fell 2 percent
to C$54.71 and Toronto-Dominion Bank sank 1.8 percent to
C$80.27. 	
    "They've had a good run and they've been backing off their
recent recovery highs in the last week," said Hand. "When the
markets are sloppier it means capital markets activity is
sloppier which affects some of the banks' earnings more than
others."