Toronto stocks open lower after Canada jobs data

Fri Jan 11, 2008 9:51am EST
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TORONTO Jan 11 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index stumbled out of the starting gate on Friday after data showed Canada lost more jobs than expected last month, and the U.S. banking sector took another hit.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 37.08 points, or 0.3 percent, at 13,604.97. Nine of the index's 10 sectors were lower. The exception, the materials group, was pulled 0.5 percent higher by hot gold-mining stocks.

The financial sector was hardest hit, down 0.7 percent, after the New York Times reported that Merrill Lynch & Co MER.N will incur bigger-than-expected mortgage-related losses, another blast of bad news for the U.S. economy.

Some Canadian financial institutions have revealed writedowns related to the battered U.S. mortgage market, and severa observers expect more to come.

Among financial stocks, Manulife Financial MFC.TO was 49 Canadian cents lower at C$38.34.

Meanwhile, job losses in Canada in December was well above expectations, suggesting the country may have reached the top of its economic cycle. For details, see: [nN11501130] ($1=$1.02 Canadian) (Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Peter Galloway)