CANADA STOCKS-TSX rattled by weak oil, political turmoil

Thu Dec 4, 2008 5:24pm EST
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* TSX index closes at lowest level since Nov. 20

* Energy sector skids 7.5 percent, leads market slide

* Suspension of Parliament dampens investor sentiment (Adds details)

By Frank Pingue

TORONTO, Dec 4 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index fell to its lowest close in two weeks on Thursday as a slide in oil prices shook the resource-heavy market, while the suspension of Canada's Parliament weighed on sentiment.

Oil prices fell more than 6 percent to their lowest level in almost four years, pulling Toronto's heavily weighted energy sector down 7.46 percent.

A decision by Canada's governor general to grant Prime Minister Stephen Harper's request that Parliament be suspended until Jan. 26, amid opposition attempts to bring down his government, hurt sentiment since it likely means there will be no government plan to stimulate the economy until at least the new year.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 239.14 points, or 2.88 percent, at 8,057.82 with seven of its 10 subindexes finishing lower.

Toronto's key index is now down 13 percent this week after falling in four consecutive sessions, including a whopping 864-point skid on Monday.   Continued...