REFILE-CANADA STOCKS-TSX skids to near 12-week low on Fed, Europe

Wed Apr 4, 2012 4:46pm EDT
 
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* TSX ends down 144.95 points, or 1.2 pct, to 12,178.66
    * Index hits lowest level since January
    * Suncor, golds lead names on downside

    By Claire Sibonney	
    TORONTO, April 4 (Reuters) - Sinking commodity stocks led
Canadian equities to a near 12-week low on Wednesday, a day
after the U.S. central bank crushed hopes for more monetary
stimulus and as a weak Spanish bond auction signaled the effects
of earlier European funding operations may be waning. 	
    Big names on the downside included Suncor Energy,
which plunged 4.5 percent to C$31.26, Goldcorp, which
lost 4.9 percent to C$40.98 and Barrick Gold, which
slid 3.2 percent to C$41.16 as the price of gold fell to its
lowest levels in nearly three months. 	
    Energy companies were hit by retreating oil prices, which
ended about 2 percent lower, after testing key technical support
levels. U.S. government data showed crude stockpiles in the
world's top consumer jumped last week to a nine-month high.
 	
    Suncor in particular however was also hurt by news that its
output was down more than 40 percent in March from February.	
    "That came as a bit of a shock to the market," said Elvis
Picardo, strategist and vice-president of research at Global
Securities in Vancouver.	
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 ended down 145.02 points, or 1.18 percent, to
12,178.59. Earlier in the session, the index hit its weakest
level since Jan. 13. 	
    Comments from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi
that the euro zone's economic outlook is subject to downside
risks related to the debt crisis also dented risk sentiment.
 	
    The flight from risk assets followed through on Tuesday's
selloff, after the Federal Reserve's minutes from its March
meeting suggested the appetite for a third dose of quantitative
easing, so-called QE3, has decreased. 	
    Meanwhile on Wednesday, Spanish borrowing costs jumped at
bond auctions, raising concerns that the rally in troubled
peripheral sovereign debt sparked by the European Central Bank's
two Long-Term Refinancing Operations may be coming to an end.