CANADA STOCKS-TSX falls sharply as gold leads broad selloff

Fri Apr 12, 2013 5:20pm EDT
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* TSX falls 1.15 percent to 12,337.59

* Bullion fall to 21 month low hits gold miners hard

* Disappointing U.S. data dulls hope for Canada's export sector

By Cameron French

TORONTO, April 12 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index fell more than 1 percent on Friday, as weak U.S. economic data dulled hopes for the Canada's export sector, while a sharp drop in gold prices pulled mining stocks to multi-year lows.

The mining-heavy TSX materials sector dropped 4.21 percent to its lowest level since 2009, fueled by a 4 percent drop in gold prices and sliding copper, while weak oil prices yanked energy stocks down by 1.95 percent.

Mining heavyweight Barrick Gold dropped 8.2 percent to C$22.94, as gold fell below $1,500 an ounce, pulling it officially into bear territory with a drop of more than 20 percent from its record high of $1,920.30 in September 2011.

A stronger U.S. dollar weighed on the metal, as did reports that Cyprus was raising the cost of its bailout package and could sell bullion to raise funds.

"That has caused concern, and of course the technical breakdown on gold (falling below $1,500) has hurt even the staunchest bulls around," said John Ing, president of Maison Placements in Toronto.   Continued...