CANADA STOCKS-TSX tumbles as miners hit by euro zone fears

Tue May 8, 2012 11:31am EDT
 
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* TSX down 203.32 pts, or 1.7 pct, at 11,657.34
    * Touches lowest level since Dec. 20, 2011
    * Political instability in Europe hurts sentiment

    By Jon Cook	
    TORONTO, May 8 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index fell
more than 200 points on Tuesday with mining and energy shares
selling off as political volatility in France and Greece
threatened to escalate the euro zone debt crisis, denting demand
for riskier commodities.	
    Financial markets are worried the election results in Greece
and France, where new governments have stated their opposition
to austerity measures, could lead to a new phase of the crisis.
 	
    Canadian stocks were on track for their fifth-straight drop
as the heavyweight materials group tumbled more than 3 percent
as miners were hit by a sharp drop in gold and base metals
prices.  	
    Losses were led by top gold producers Barrick Gold 
and Goldcorp Inc. Barrick, the world's largest gold
miner, fell 3.6 percent to C$36.32 and Goldcorp sank 3.9 percent
to C$34.53.	
    "With the decline in prices you're starting to get that
cleansing process where the baby gets thrown out with the bath
water," said Arthur Salzer, executive director and chief
executive officer of Northland Wealth Management.	
    Base metals miners fell nearly 4 percent, led by Teck
Resources, down 4.4 percent to C$32.83, and First
Quantum Minerals, off 2.2 percent to C$17.73.	
    Top fertilizer producer Potash Corp slumped 2.2
percent to C$40.96, a reflection of the reduced outlook for
global growth as potash is used to grow key crops such as soy
beans and corn.	
    At 11:07 a.m. EDT (1507 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's
S&P/TSX composite index was down 203.32 points, or 1.7
percent, at 11,657.34, putting it on track for its lowest close
since Dec. 20, 2011.	
    The TSX has fallen more than 5 percent since the beginning
of May.	
    Energy shares were down again on Tuesday, slipping 2.3
percent as Brent crude oil dipped below $112 a barrel, down more
than 6 percent so far this month. 	
    Suncor Energy, Canada's largest oil producer,
dropped 2.5 percent to C$29.48 to lead the influential sector's
losses. Canadian Natural Resources was down 3.2 percent
at C$30.63 and Encana Corp fell 2.7 percent to C$20.78.