CANADA STOCKS-TSX hits 3-month low as Europe fears flare up

Thu Apr 5, 2012 4:23pm EDT
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* TSX ends down 75.55 points, or 0.6 percent, to 12,103.11
    * TSX hits lowest since Jan. 3, ends week down 2.3 percent
    * Materials, energy, financials all down

    By Claire Sibonney	
    TORONTO, April 5 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index fell
for a third straight day on Thursday, hitting its lowest in more
than three months as European debt crisis worries crimped
appetite for riskier assets, although impressive Canadian and
U.S. jobs data provided some support.	
    Eight of the 10 sectors were weaker, led by the three
heavyweight groups, materials, energy and financials.	
    Among the most influential decliners, Suncor Energy 
dropped 2.6 percent to C$30.45, Canadian Natural Resources
 lost 2.9 percent to C$31.77 and Barrick Gold 
retreated 1.6 percent to C$40.51.	
    "It's the same story we had since the beginning of the week
in terms of the European overhang," said Serge Pepin, head of
investments, BMO Investments Inc. "That's what is weighing on
    A poor Spanish debt auction on Wednesday added to worries
that the impact of the European Central Bank's one trillion euro
injection of cheap three-year funds into the banking system may
be coming to an abrupt halt, and dragged euro zone bond yields
    "Everybody is back on this European sovereign debt thing
again and it's just something that doesn't want to go away,
that's hurting the banks and everything is getting beaten up
today," said John Kinsey, portfolio manager at Caldwell
    "Golds aren't participating even though the metal itself is
trying to rally a little bit here."	
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 closed down 75.55 points, or 0.62 percent, to
12,103.11. It hit an intraday low of 12,051.20, its softest
level since Jan. 3 before recovering somewhat by the end of the
session. The index ended the week 2.3 percent lower. Canadian
markets are closed on Friday for the Good Friday holiday and
volume is expected to be light on Easter Monday.	
    Suncor, the heaviest drag, was particularly hurt by news
that the province of Newfoundland's oil regulator laid three
charges against the oil company, related to a spill of synthetic
drilling fluids in 2011 from a Suncor rig operating in the East
Coast province's waters. 	
    In general however, oil companies were pressured by softer
oil prices, which had tumbled in the previous two sessions.
    "The oil companies have just been taking a hard hit here for
some time. The price of oil is still above $100 but ... today is
just more of the same," added Kinsey.	
    On the bright side, Canada's stagnant job market bounced
back in March with a stunning 82,300 net new jobs, the biggest
jump since September 2008, while U.S. jobless claims fell to the
lowest in nearly four years.  	
    "(Canadian employment data) should have brought a number of
smiles to people's faces but I think it's just the mood at this
point which is ... cautious," added Pepin.