CANADA STOCKS-US data helps push TSX to lowest level in a month

Tue Feb 14, 2012 5:02pm EST
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* TSX ends down 44.22 pts, or 0.4 pct, at 12,354.47

* Marks index's lowest close since Jan. 18

* Mining, energy shares weigh

* U.S. retail data worries market

* Euro zone credit downgrades weigh

By Jon Cook

TORONTO, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Canadian stocks ended at their lowest level in nearly a month on Tuesday, undermining the big gains they made at the start of the year, as mining and energy issues slid on a fresh round of euro zone credit downgrades and on concern about slowing U.S. retail sales.

Market confidence in the U.S. economy slipped after data showed retail sales rose less than forecast in January as consumers cut back on car purchases and did less online shopping. Sales increased 0.4 percent in the month, the Commerce Department said, less than the 0.7 percent rise expected by economists polled by Reuters.

"People are extremely concerned about the degree to which consumers are extended at this point in time," said Michael Sprung, president of Sprung Investment Management Inc. "A soft sales number just goes to confirm that there's not a lot of capacity there."   Continued...