UPDATE 1-Toronto stocks take a beating from commodities

Tue Sep 9, 2008 11:39am EDT
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*Oil falls as OPEC expected to maintain output

*CI rises after report says it plans to sell Blackmont

*Canada housing starts rise more than foreseen in August

(Adds details)

TORONTO, Sept 9 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index tumbled on Tuesday morning as commodity-related stocks took a beating from worries over slowing economic growth.

Energy stocks sank 4.7 percent as the price of crude fell to around $104 a barrel as the threat of Hurricane Ike eased and expectations mounted that OPEC will not cut output.

Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote) fell 6.7 percent to C$74.62, while Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote) dropped 5.8 percent to C$46.30.

The materials sector dropped 6 percent as gold and base metals prices sagged on a firmer U.S. dollar and demand fears. Fertilizer producer Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (POT.TO: Quote) fell 7.6 percent to C$150.13, while mid-tier gold miner Agnico-Eagle (AEM.TO: Quote) dropped 6.2 percent to C$48.09.

"It's more of the same," said Irwin Michael, portfolio manager at ABC Funds. "Trends start and it takes a bit for them to change course. The trend here is commodities weaker and banks stronger."   Continued...