UPDATE 3-Toronto stocks dive in broad selloff

Wed Jul 2, 2008 4:35pm EDT
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(Adds details, comments, updates figures)

By Wojtek Dabrowski

TORONTO, July 2 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index plunged more than 400 points in a broad selloff on Wednesday as economic sentiment darkened and coal companies saw their shares plunge alongside the price of the commodity.

After jumping some 100 points at the open, the index lost its footing and began declining sharply as each of its 10 main subgroups gave up ground.

Energy and materials shares, two key pillars of the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE, lost 3.07 percent and 4.8 percent respectively. Financials shed 2.16 percent.

The selloff came as a report in the United States found that U.S. private-sector employers slashed 79,000 jobs in June -- the largest drop since November 2002 and worse than expected by economists.

"People are nervous," said Julie Brough, vice president at Morgan Meighen & Associates. "It's really hard to find positives right now and it's making people sell."

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE fell 432.92 points, or 2.99 percent, to close at 14,034.11.

Some of the biggest gainers in recent months became the day's biggest losers. Investor darling Potash Corp (POT.TO: Quote), for instance, fell C$19.77, or 8.4 percent, to close at C$216.80.   Continued...