CANADA STOCKS-TSX drops 2.2 pct as oils, gold drag

Wed Jan 7, 2009 10:44am EST
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* Commodity-related issues drop as oil, gold prices fall

* U.S. jobs data boosts fears of extended recession (Updates figures, adds details)

TORONTO Jan 7 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index fell 2.4 percent on Wednesday morning after six straight sessions of gains, led lower by oil and gold shares as commodity prices dropped.

Dismal U.S. jobs data from a private employment service showed U.S. private-sector employers shed 693,000 jobs in December. The figures suggested more dire news to come in U.S. government jobs data due later this week and cast a pall on investor sentiment.

At 10:27 a.m. (1527 GMT), the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 209.05 points, or 2.21 percent, at 9,263.04. All 10 main groups were in the red.

The price of oil eased, putting pressure on the energy group, which fell 3.2 percent. EnCana ECA.TO, the index's biggest mover, shed 3.75 percent to C$58.55.

The heavily weighted financial sector was also a drag, down nearly 2 percent, led lower by Manulife Financial MFC.TO and Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO. Manulife, Canada's biggest insurer, fell 4.4 percent to C$23.05, while Royal, Canada's biggest bank, lost 1.8 percent to C$37.35.

Gold issues fell with the price of gold, which slipped more than 1 percent. That weighed on the materials group, which dropped 2.9 percent. Barrick Gold ABX.TO was down 3.8 percent at C$38.28.

($1=$1.19 Canadian) (Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Peter Galloway)