June 6, 2008 / 9:42 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 3-Toronto stocks slide as oil fuels economic worries

5 Min Read

(Adds details, quotes)

* Index turns negative after hitting record in morning

* Spike in oil price propels resources higher

* Financials and consumer stocks decline on economic fears

By Leah Schnurr

TORONTO, June 6 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index ended lower on Friday after the crude price shot up by more than $10 a barrel, spurring worries about its impact on the economy and erasing a big market gain made early in the day.

The key S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE jumped to a record high shortly after the opening bell as resource issues rose with surging commodity prices.

But gains by oil and other resource stocks were not enough to keep the index above water as the impact of the rapid surge in crude prices began to hit financial and consumer issues.

In the oil patch, Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) rose C$2.36, or 2.3 percent, to C$106.00, and Imperial Oil (IMO.TO) added C$1.29, or 2.2 percent, to C$60.93 as crude soared to a record above $139 a barrel during the day.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 13.36 points, or 0.09 percent, at 14,969.55, with the energy and materials sectors provided the bulk of the upside, gaining 1.7 percent and 1.2 percent respectively.

The index was up 1.7 percent for the week.

"There's a certain limit with people getting enthusiastic about buying energy stocks and gold stocks," said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier.

"But there's the other side of the equation where they tend to get more negative on the overall outlook for the economy and the overall outlook for consumers."

Crude settled at $138.54 a barrel, up $10.75 or 8.4 percent, after soaring more than $11 to set a record high above $139.

Financials led the downside, shedding 1.8 percent, with Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) sliding C$1.82, or 2.7 percent, to C$65.18, and Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) dropping C$1.10, or 1.6 percent, to C$69.03.

Consumer stocks were also stung. The TSX consumer discretionary sector fell 1.3 percent, and the consumer staples group lost 0.9 percent.

Retailer Canadian Tire (CTCa.TO) was off 65 Canadian cents, or 1.1 percent, to C$59.65, and restaurant chain Tim Hortons THI.TO gave up 55 Canadian cents, or 1.7 percent, to C$32.15.

Shares of gold producers gained 2.6 percent as the price of bullion rode oil's coattails higher. Goldcorp (G.TO) was up C$1.84, or 4.6 percent, at C$42.09, and Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) climbed C$1.73, or 4.2 percent, to C$42.90.

In its biggest gain in dollar terms on record, the price of crude settled up $10.75, or 8.4 percent, at $138.54 a barrel, in the wake of a weak U.S. dollar and political tensions between Israel and major oil producer Iran.

"Basically, the market's telling us we have to start economizing on the amount of energy we use, and that's going to cause disruptions, particularly on the consumer side," said John Johnson, chief strategist for Harbour Group at RBC Dominion Securities.

"Energy is taking up more and more of household budgets, and its squeezing other stuff out."

Market volume was up 397 million shares worth C$8.4 billion. Decliners outpaced advancers 809 to 789. The blue chip S&P/TSX 60 index .TSE60 closed down 1.01 point, or 0.11 percent, at 893.69.

Bay Street was also weighed down by a big market retreat south of the border, where the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI skidded nearly 400 points amid the soaring oil prices and a jump in the May unemployment rate.

"People I think have realized that if the U.S. consumer and industry are in trouble, certainly we are not going to be immune to that," said Michael Sprung, president of Sprung & Co. Investment Counsel.

The Dow closed down 394.64 points, or 3.13 percent, at 12,209.81, and the Nasdaq composite index .IXIC lost 75.38 points, or 2.96 percent, to 2,474.56. ($1=$1.02 Canadian)

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