CANADA STOCKS-TSX hits 2012 low after soft China data

Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:57am EDT
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* TSX falls 84.78 pts, or 0.7 pct, to 11,933.72
    * Lowest level since December
    * Energy issues pull index lower
    * Soft China import data hurts commodities

    By Jon Cook	
    TORONTO, April 10 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
tumbled to its lowest level this year on Tuesday as energy
issues were hurt by soft import data from China that raised
global growth fears, while financials slumped after fresh signs
of stress in the euro zone debt market.	
    Data showed Chinese imports undershot expectations, growing
5.3 percent on the year in March - consistent with other data
suggesting soggy domestic demand in the first quarter of the
    The Chinese figures came on the heels of last week's
disappointing U.S. jobs report and heightened anxiety among
investors about a slowdown in the world's top two economies.
    "It adds to the uneasiness in the markets," said Carlos
Leitao, chief economist at Laurentian Bank Securities. "What
could calm the markets down would be something a little stronger
from China, but we're still waiting for that."	
    Brent crude oil sagged below $122 a barrel, dragging down
Canadian energy issues which tumbled more than 1 percent to lead
the main index lower. 	
    Losses were led by Suncor Energy, which slid 2.5
percent to C$29.53, Enbridge, down 1.2 percent to
C$38.95 and TransCanada Corporation, down 0.8 percent
to C$42.45. 	
    At 11:40 a.m. (1540 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's
S&P/TSX composite index was down 84.78 points, or 0.7
percent, to 11,933.72. It was its lowest level since December
    "There's this sneaky feeling that perhaps in March the
markets were too optimistic in their assessment of the U.S.
economic recovery and the non-farm payrolls on Friday kind of
knocked that down and now we're trying to re-establish some sort
of a footing," said Leitao.	
    Europe's debt woes resurfaced after Spanish and Italian
yields rose, as the U.S. jobs numbers increased concerns about
the impact a weaker U.S. economy may have on euro zone growth,
especially in the region's weaker economies. 	
    Canadian financial shares dipped 0.1 percent, as
Toronto-Dominion Bank shares fell 0.3 percent to C$83.	
    Industrial issues also weighed, as shares of Canadian
National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway 
fell 0.9 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively on Tuesday after
the latest industry data indicated a slight North American rail
traffic decline on the back of weakness in coal and agricultural
product shipments.	
    Materials remained slightly above water, up 0.1 percent as
gold prices edged up on the hope that the sluggish U.S.
employment market could fuel further asset purchases, or
quantitative easing, by the U.S. Federal Reserve. 	
    Top gold producer Barrick Gold and No. 2 gold
miner, Goldcorp, rose 0.5 percent to C$41.01 and C$41.14