Toronto stocks dip as U.S. economic worries persist

Tue Dec 4, 2007 9:57am EST
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TORONTO Dec 4 (Reuters) - Toronto stocks opened lower on Tuesday, on the back of falling financial shares, as persisting worries over the U.S. credit crunch overshadowed the Bank of Canada's decision to cut interest rates.

Just after the open, the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 34.08 points, or 0.25 percent, at 13,623.09.

Five of the TSX index's 10 main groups were lower, led by a 1.3 percent drop among the heavily weighted financial shares and a 0.6 percent fall in the interest rate-sensitive utilities sector. Consumer discretionary issues were down 1 percent.

Financial shares fell in sympathy with their U.S. counterparts after a U.S. Treasury official in charge of debt management said it will be a "long and slow" process to build confidence in financial markets.

Also JPMorgan Chase JPM.N cut its earnings estimates on a number of brokerages, citing writedowns and slowdowns in mergers and acquisitions and reduced fees for other services.

Canada's top banks were all lower, including Bank of Montreal BMO.TO, which dropped C$1.60 to C$60.00 and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce CM.TO, which fell C$1.38 to C$86.33.

Investors shrugged off news that the Bank of Canada cut its key lending rate by 25 basis points to 4.25 percent in a bid to shelter the economy from a U.S. economic slowdown and the impact of a soaring Canadian dollar. The currency hit a modern day high before quickly falling back to parity with the U.S. dollar.

($1=$1.00 Canadian) (Reporting by Scott Anderson; Editing by Bernadette Baum)