CANADA STOCKS-TSX battered as China data shakes commodities

Wed May 11, 2011 5:28pm EDT
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   * TSX down 222.32 points, or 1.63 percent, at 13,419.74
 * All 10 index groups lower
 * Lowest close since Jan. 27
 (Adds corporate earnings, details, comments)
 By Solarina Ho
 TORONTO, May 11 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index took
a beating on Wednesday, hitting its lowest close in 3-1/2
months, as signals that the Chinese economy might be cooling
sent commodity prices tumbling.
 Inflation in China eased in April and China's industrial
output growth was more than a full percentage point below
expectations in the same month after a strong showing in March.
The data helped push oil, gold and metal prices sharply lower.
 An unexpected rise in gasoline stocks also helped drive
crude prices down more than 4 percent -- the second big oil
selloff in a week. Copper prices crumbled on the data from
China, the world's biggest metals consumer. Silver dropped 8
percent and helped drag gold lower as well. [O/R] [MET/L]
 "The biggest thing is China overnight. There were some
pretty high expectations ... some of the economic data was a
bit weaker than expected. That's disappointing markets in
general," said Youssef Zohny, a portfolio manager at Van Arbor
Asset Management.
 The Toronto index's materials sector, which groups mining
companies, fell a hefty 3.25 percent. Diversified miner Teck
Resources TCKb.TO dropped 5.46 percent to C$45.50, Barrick
Gold (ABX.TO: Quote) was down 3.88 percent at C$43.82, while Goldcorp
(G.TO: Quote) slid 3.2 percent to C$46.05. [ID:nN11230867]
 Oil and gas stocks, which have fallen roughly 7 percent
over the past week and a half, were down 2.58 percent on
Wednesday. The energy and materials groups combined have about
a 50 percent weighting on the index.
 Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote) led blue-chip decliners with a 3.13
percent retreat to C$39.31. Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote)
fell 2.68 percent to C$40.24.
 "Commodities have become more volatile over the last few
weeks and that's spilling over into equity markets. In general
we've been seeing some de-risking over the last couple of weeks
and today we're seeing an accelerated version of that," Zohny
 The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
.GSPTSE finished down 222.32 points, or 1.63 percent, at
13,419.74. The index has fallen in six of the last eight
sessions and was its lowest close since Jan. 27.
 All 10 of its main groups were lower.
 "We're heading into the summer months, so it's not atypical
to see people building cash positions prior to the summer. So
we've got a little bit of a seasonal effect beginning to happen
as well," said Michael Sprung, president at Sprung & Co
Investment Counsel.
 Ivanhoe Energy IE.TO sank 5.67 percent to C$2.33 after
the oil producer reported a bigger quarterly loss.
 Fertilizer maker Agrium (AGU.TO: Quote), which completed the sale
of the majority of the commodity management businesses of
Australia's AWB to Cargill Inc for $677 million, fell 2.7
percent to C$78.19. [ID:nN11183367]
 Enbridge (ENB.TO: Quote), which reported a 15 percent jump in
first-quarter profit and said it is eyeing international
acquisitions, saw its shares fall 1.23 percent to C$60.20.
 ($1=$0.96 Canadian)
 (Editing by Peter Galloway)