CANADA STOCKS-TSX tumbles to near 2-1/2-year low; oil extends fall

Thu Jan 7, 2016 5:11pm EST
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(Adds portfolio manager comment, details; updates prices)

* TSX ends down 278.59 points, or 2.19 percent, at 12,448.21

* Nine of the TSX's 10 main groups fall

By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Canada's benchmark stock index slid on Thursday to its lowest level in nearly two-and-a-half years as investors worried about China's equities market and oil prices pushed ever lower.

Losses were broad and deep, with energy stocks retreating 4.2 percent, industrials shedding 2.5 percent and financials down 2.2 percent. Thirty-nine stocks posted fresh 52-week lows.

"Right now people are taking maximum negativity and factoring that out into the marketplace," said Irwin Michael, a portfolio manager at ABC Funds. "The path of least resistance is down."

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index ended the day down 278.59 points, or 2.19 percent, at 12,448.21.

That was its seventh straight decline and sharpest one-day loss since Dec. 7, pushing the index to its lowest level since August 2013.   Continued...