CANADA STOCKS-China growth angst takes TSX to 10-month low

Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:52pm EDT
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* TSX falls 158.80 points, or 1.32 percent, to 11,836.86
    * All 10 main sectors decline
    * Index down 4.8 percent on year
    * Gold-mining shares slip with bullion price
    * BlackBerry climbs 2.8 percent

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, June 24 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
slumped on Monday, hitting a 10-month low, as anxiety about
China's economic growth helped weaken commodity prices and fuel
declines in shares of gold and energy producers.
    The market, which has been roiled by the U.S. Federal
Reserve's plans to tighten monetary policy, extended its slide
from last week, when it lost 1.6 percent.
    Worries about a crisis in the Chinese banking system and the
ability of the country to deal with a slowing economy have
intensified. Those concerns caused the price of
bullion to drop about 1 percent and triggered a 4.2 percent fall
in shares of gold miners. 
    The Canadian market, with its large exposure to materials
and energy stocks, has been reacting sharply to news out of
China, a major destination for resource exports. 
    "The markets are in a risk aversion phase. They are going to
take a wait-and-see approach," said Youssef Zohny, portfolio
manager at Stenner Investment Partners, a unit of Richardson
    Investors are trying to re-price Chinese economic growth and
liquidity concerns to some extent, he said, adding they were
more than anything looking for stability in commodity prices.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 unofficially closed down 158.80 points, or 1.32
percent, at 11,836.86, after reaching 11,759.04, its lowest
level since August 2012. 
    The index is down 4.8 percent since the start of the year,
offering a contrast to solid gains made by other major global
indices, such as the S&P 500.
    Canadian investors in general see no clear direction, said
Matt Skipp, president of SW8 Asset Management. "You're invested
in a financial system that's based off monetary policy, you're
watching your yield securities plunge, and your equity
portfolios don't give much comfort."
    Every major sector on the index was in the red on Monday.
    The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, gave
back 3.8 percent.
    Gold-mining stocks declined 4.2 percent.
    Barrick Gold Corp fell 2.4 percent to C$17.28. The
miner plans to lay off up to a third of its corporate staff at
its headquarters in Toronto and other offices. 
    Goldcorp Inc stumbled 3.8 percent to C$24.64.
    Energy shares lost 1.2 percent. Oil prices hit a three-week
low earlier in the session but recovered as record flooding in
Canada's main oil producing province threatened exports to the
United States. 
    Suncor Energy Inc was down 1.4 percent to C$30.36,
and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd dropped 0.1 percent
to C$29.35.
    Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, were
down 0.5 percent. Insurer Manulife Financial Corp fell
2.9 percent to C$16.24 and played the biggest role of any single
stock in leading the market lower.
    But smartphone maker BlackBerry, which will report
quarterly earnings later this week, added 2.8 percent to