CANADA STOCKS-TSX tumbles on global growth fears
* TSX down 155.14 pts, or 1.3 pct, at 11,358.07 * Energy, financial shares lead losses * Gold miners gain from safe-haven buying By Jon Cook TORONTO, June 1 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index slumped on Friday, led by energy and financial issues, after a slew of weak data - including reports showing lackluster U.S. jobs growth and Canadian economic expansion - compounded fears of slowing global growth. After one of the worst Mays in recent years for equity markets, June began with a whimper, amid a backdrop of euro zone debt worries, a tentative recovery in the United States and a more moderate pace of growth in China. Markets extended losses after U.S. job growth in May was the weakest in a year, suggesting a faltering U.S. economic recovery. The market declines spurred speculation the European Central Bank and U.S. Federal Reserve may be forced to implement additional stimulus measures to calm investors on both sides of the Atlantic. "It's pretty dramatic times," said Paul Hand, managing director at RBC Capital Markets. "A policy response is probably going to be called for here, including concerted action with the Fed and quantitative easing." Nine of Canada's 10 main sectors were in the red. Losses were sharpest among the oil and gas group, which dropped 3.3 percent as U.S. light crude oil fell more than $3 per barrel on Friday. Declines were led by Canadian Natural Resources, down 4.4 percent at C$28.35, Suncor Energy, off 2.6 percent to C$27.30 and Cenovus Energy, which dropped 3.8 percent to C$31.32. At 11:02 a.m. (1502 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was down 155.14 points, or 1.3 percent, at 11,358.07, close to a 10-day low. Earlier data from France and Germany, Europe's largest economy, showed their manufacturing sectors contracted at the fastest pace in nearly three years. Italy's factories also contracted for a tenth straight month, while in Spain the PMI fell below that of Greece's. Greece, which unleashed the financial maelstrom that has ravaged the euro bloc, is due for a crucial second election in three weeks that may determine whether it remains a member of the currency union. Canadian financials, which have far less exposure to risky euro zone debt holdings, still tumbled 2.6 percent on Friday. Despite solid second-quarter bank earnings, Canada's top lenders led the slide. Royal Bank of Canada sank 3.3 percent to C$49.86, Toronto-Dominion Bank was down 2.7 percent at C$76.90 and Bank of Nova Scotia shed 2.2 percent to C$51.81. Data on Friday showed the Canadian economy grew less in the first quarter than the Bank of Canada had expected. The soft GDP data tempered speculation of an interest rate hike. The negative global news was a boon to gold stocks, which jumped 5.5 percent as bullion rallied above $1,600 an ounce on safe-haven buying. Gains were led by top gold producers Barrick Gold, up 6.4 percent at C$43.23, and Goldcorp Inc, which rose more than 8 percent to C$40.76. RBC Capital Markets' Hand said the sell-off was likely to slow, as yields on government bonds and U.S. Treasuries plunged to historic lows. "As rates go lower and markets go lower, there will be money coming out of bonds to buy stocks," said Hand.
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