CANADA STOCKS-TSX dives to 3-wk low on outlook worries

Thu Mar 29, 2012 11:16am EDT
 
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* TSX down 139.83 points, or 1.1 pct, at 12,274.03
    * All of index's 10 main sectors lower
    * Bank, energy, materials issues lead way down

    By Jennifer Kwan	
    TORONTO, March 29 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
fell to a three-week low on Thursday, as recent mixed U.S.
economic data and worries about a slowdown in China raised
investor concern about the global economic outlook.	
    New U.S. jobless claims fell last week to their lowest level
since April 2008, but missed forecasts.  That
followed a U.S. durable goods report on Wednesday that was
slightly softer than expected, said Ian Nakamoto, director of
research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier.	
    "It's a bit of a mixed message out here," he said.	
    Big stocks on the downside included Potash Corp,
down 1.5 percent at C$45.36, and Suncor Energy, which
fell 1.6 percent to C$31.97. Royal Bank of Canada sank
1.2 percent to C$58.08. The key financial, energy and materials
sectors, which comprise some 70 percent of the broader index,
were all lower by at least 1 percent.	
    At around 10:20 a.m. EDT (1420 GMT), the Toronto Stock
Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index sank 139.83 points,
or 1.1 percent, to 12,274.03, with all of its 10 main sectors
lower. The index touched 12,258.39, its weakest level since Mar.
7.	
    Concerns about a slowdown in Asia were also a major factor
driving the TSX index lower, said Nakamoto.	
    "Canada has been out of favor for a while. Until people have
confidence in what's going on in China, it'll probably continue
to lag the U.S. markets and other markets," he said. Resource
stocks make up some 40 percent of the broader TSX index.	
    Profit taking ahead of the end of the first quarter has
added to the pullback in stocks, analysts have said. 	
    In company news, asset manager Sprott Inc, down 3.8
percent at C$5.80, said its quarterly profit plunged 96 percent
mainly due to weak precious metals prices that dragged down
investments. 	
    Ithaca Energy Inc gained 0.7 percent to C$3.07 and
posted a slight decline in profit. The oil and gas producer said
it continued to be in discussions with parties interested in
acquiring it.