CANADA STOCKS-TSX falls on weak U.S. data, Sino-Forest plunge
* TSX down 26.93 points, or 0.2 percent to 13,492.57
* Nine of the index's 10 main groups lower (Updates with details, comments)
By Solarina Ho
TORONTO, June 3 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index fell on Friday as disappointing U.S. jobs data dampened investor sentiment, though a rise in gold miners on a jump in the bullion price helped erase hefty early-session losses.
Economically sensitive materials stocks, down 0.77 percent, led the market lower, driven by 65 percent decline in shares of Sino-Forest Corp TRE.TO. It played the biggest role of any single stock in leading the market lower.
The company, which operates forest plantations in China, on Friday denied a report by a research firm and short-seller that it had exaggerated its forestry holdings. [ID:nN03131872]
Toronto stocks initially fell more than 1 percent after a report showed U.S. employers hired far fewer workers than expected in May and the jobless rate climbed to 9.1 percent, stoking worries of continued economic weakness. [ID:nOAT004818]
"The concern there is, does this further underscore a more meaningful slowing in the economy? The impact for the Canadian economy is if there's a slowing in the U.S. economy -- they're obviously our largest trading partner -- do they need less of what we have that we produce?," said Peter Chandler, a senior vice-president at Canaccord Wealth Management.
At 10:53 a.m. (1425 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 26.93 points, or 0.2 percent to 13,492.57, paring a significant chunk of the 1 percent slump shortly after the open.
The index has so far fallen more than 2 percent on the week. On Wednesday, the index saw its biggest one-day slide since August.
Financial stocks, down O.3 percent, played the second biggest role of any sector in leading the market lower. Top decliners included Manulife Financial (MFC.TO: Quote) down 1.27 percent at C$16.39 and Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote) down 0.47 percent at C$54.87.
Energy issues swung between positive and negative territory and were last off 0.16 percent with Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote) slipping 0.59 percent to C$40.22. Talisman Energy TLM.TO fell 0.81 percent to C$19.48.
Oil and copper prices continued to cool as the weakest employment reading since September cast a pall over demand prospects. [O/R] [MET/L]
Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote) bucked the trend with a 1.15 percent rise to 39.58 and was the most influential gainer on the index.
Bullion was the only bright spot for the resource heavy TSX, as the data and weak U.S. dollar sent prices to session highs, with investors rushing for the safe-haven precious metal. [GOL/]
The gold miners helped the overall materials group reverse some of its earlier losses. Goldcorp (G.TO: Quote) rose 0.97 percent to C$48.04, playing the biggest role after Suncor to support the market.
In corporate news, Toromont Industries (TIH.TO: Quote) fell 39 percent, or C$18.83. The sharp decline came after Toromont spun off its natural gas compression business Enerflex Ltd to shareholders.
($1=$0.98 Canadian) (Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)
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