UPDATE 3-Toronto stocks take beating on oil, economic woes

Mon Jul 7, 2008 4:52pm EDT
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(Updates closing numbers, adds details, quotes)

* TSX tumbles more than 2 percent in broad retreat

* Energy shares lead slide as oil prices decline

* Worries persist over economic growth and consumer health

TORONTO, July 7 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index slumped more than 2 percent on Monday, dragged down by resource issues as oil and gold prices dropped, while gloom over the outlook for economic growth hurt the wider market.

Oil and gas companies led the descent, stung by a drop of nearly $4 in crude amid signs of easing tensions with Iran over its nuclear program.

But with the price of oil remaining high -- it is up more than 40 percent this year to above $141 a barrel -- intensifying worries over its impact on consumer spending and the economy took the broader market lower.

"We're more and more digesting the fact that oil is a key ingredient and it's very hard to grow an economy with oil at $140 or thereabouts," said Adrian Mastracci, portfolio manager and president at KCM Wealth Management Inc. in Vancouver.

"It's simply just an uphill battle to do that, so the bears are out today and they're out in full force."   Continued...