CANADA STOCKS-China growth worry hits commodity-heavy TSX

Fri Jun 8, 2012 5:29pm EDT
 
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* TSX down 91.49, or 0.79 pct, at 11,500.63
    * Energy, financial shares hurt by growth fears
    * China rate cut seen foreshadowing soft data


    By Cameron French	
    TORONTO, June 8 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index fell
on Friday, diverging from rising U.S. equities, as fears about
Chinese economic growth hit commodity issues, while weak jobs
data prompted investors to take a cautious stance heading into
the weekend.	
    Financial and energy issues led the drop, but the weakness
was broad with all but one subgroup of the benchmark TSX index
retreating on the day.	
    "There's a little bit of speculation out there that the Bank
of China rate cut (on Thursday) was a precursor to what could be
weaker-than-expected economic data that they're going to
report," said Craig Fehr, a Canadian market strategy at Edward
Jones	
    Canada's employment report for May on Friday only narrowly
missed market estimates with a tepid 7,700 jobs gain, but the
data did little to ease investor nervousness about both global
growth and the deepening debt crisis in Europe.	
    Concerns about Chinese demand and the continuing euro zone
jitters ate into oil prices, pulling the heavily-weighted TSX
energy index down 1.4 percent. Base metals prices also fell.	
    Among oil companies, Nexen Inc dropped 2.0 percent
to C$16.39, while Husky Energy retreated 1.4 percent to
C$23.83.	
    Copper miner Inmet Mining led base metals miners
lower, dropping 4.0 percent to C$43.41, but the index's
materials sector ended the session up 0.1 percent as gold-mining
stocks were boosted by a late-session rally in the precious
metal.	
    Kinross Gold rose 2.5 percent to C$8.51, while
Iamgold Corp gained 1.4 percent to C$12.44.	
    The financial sector slid 1.3 percent following three
straight gaining sessions, led down by Bank of Montreal
, which fell 1.9 percent to C$54.02.	
    All told, the S&P/TSX composite index fell 91.49
points, or 0.79 percent, to finish at 11,500.63.	
    Adding to the pall caused by the jobs data, Canadian housing
starts slowed in May to 211,400 at a seasonally adjusted
annualized rate, down from 243,800 in April. 	
    For the week, the TSX index rose 1.2 percent despite a sharp
drop on Monday, when it touched an eight-month low. Analysts
said developments in Europe will likely outweigh domestic news
in near-term market movements.	
    "Investor are still very much on the fence, still waiting
for clues as to what might happen in the rest of the world,"
said Elvis Picardo, an strategist at Global Securities in
Vancouver.	
     Spain is expected to request European aid for its ailing
banks over the weekend to forestall worsening market turmoil,
becoming the fourth and biggest country to seek assistance since
the euro zone's debt crisis began. 	
    Optimism over Spain's move helped drive U.S. markets higher
on Friday.	
     Among individual Canadian stocks, shares of Genivar Inc.
 tumbled 4.7 percent to C$23.87 after the engineering
firm received a green light to acquire British consulting firm
WSP Group Plc in a cash deal valued at about C$442 million
($431.5 million).