August 12, 2015 / 9:20 PM / 2 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX falls on yuan weakness, global demand worries

3 Min Read

(Adds analyst comment, updates prices to close)

* TSX ends down 75.14 points, or 0.52 percent, at 14,339.53

* Seven of the TSX's 10 main groups fell

By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index fell on Wednesday as China's currency weakened further, but pared its sharpest losses as oil prices bounced off six-year lows.

Losses were heaviest among banks, fertilizer producers and some energy stocks.

Crude oil prices rose following Tuesday's rout, while base metals sank to six-year lows on worries demand from China, the world's top metals buyer, would wane.

The resource-heavy Toronto market has been hit hard by negative global sentiment that has battered commodity prices.

The latest monetary move in China, which the People's Bank of China says should mean the yuan better reflects market prices, is likely to maintain the pressure.

"I don't see how it can be positive for commodities," said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier. "It just shows that they are concerned about the health of their economy."

Energy stocks fell 0.5 percent, with Canadian Natural Resources Ltd down 3 percent at C$31.94 and Suncor Energy Inc losing 0.7 percent to C$37.49.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index lost 75.14 points, or 0.52 percent, at 14,339.53. Of the index's 10 main groups, seven ended lower.

Shares in fertilizer companies Potash Corp and Agrium Inc moved lower after a U.S. government report showed harvests yielded more than expected, weighing heavily on corn and soybean futures.

Potash lost 2.1 percent to C$33.90 and Agrium fell 2.5 percent to C$131.91.

Major banks also figured prominently in the index's losses, with Royal Bank of Canada down 1 percent at C$75.84. The overall financials group retreated 0.9 percent.

"World economic growth has been slowing and markets have been ignoring that and now they're catching up with reality," said Subodh Kumar, chief investment strategist at Subodh Kumar & Associates.

"It's hard to say when sentiment will change. We're somewhere in the bottoming process," said Kumar, who expects a pickup later this year or early in 2016.

The materials group, home to mining firms, rose 1.7 percent, as gold miners were buoyed by the higher price of bullion, a safe-haven. Most of the index's top gainers were gold miners.

Goldcorp Inc advanced 4.2 percent to C$19.78, while Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd surged 7.8 percent to C$33.51 and Barrick Gold Corp gained 4.2 percent to C$10.55. Gold futures rose 1.4 percent to $1,123.20 an ounce.

Air Canada shares fell 6.4 percent to C$12.08 after Canada's biggest carrier said a closely watched revenue number declined. (Additional reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by James Dalgleish and Lisa Shumaker)

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