CANADA STOCKS-TSX sags 4 pct, Canadian Natural weighs

Thu Nov 6, 2008 12:13pm EST
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* Energy issues lead index lower, oil below $61

* Canadian Natural falls 12 pct as project costs rise

* Rate cuts overseas fail to buoy sentiment

TORONTO, Nov 6 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index .GSPTSE sank 3.7 percent on Thursday morning as energy issues fell along with the price of oil, and as interest rate cuts overseas failed to buoy investor sentiment.

The oil and gas sector dropped 6.6 percent as the price of oil accelerated lower to around $61 a barrel after the Bank of England cut its main interest rate by an unprecedented 150 basis points. European Central Bank and Swiss rates were also chopped on Thursday. [ID:nSYD166191]

Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote) was among the top net decliners, falling 12.1 percent to C$53.12 as its quarterly profit quadrupled on the back of higher oil prices but it said that costs for its big Horizon oil sands project are rising. [ID:nBNG401176]

The materials group was pulled 6.7 percent lower even as commodity prices firmed, including gold XAU=, which rose to session highs [ID:nL652768].

Fears that demand for commodities is slowing due to a faltering world economy have pressured resource issues lower in recent months.

Kinross Gold (K.TO: Quote) lost 2.2 percent as its profit jumped 64 percent on stronger gold prices and higher production, while Iamgold (IMG.TO: Quote) fell 2.5 percent as it reported a decrease in quarterly results.   Continued...