February 12, 2010 / 3:22 PM / in 8 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX stumbles as China tightens lending

 * TSX falls 73.61 points, or 0.64 pct, to 11,361.88
 * China move to tighten bank reserve levels hits markets
 * Commodity-linked shares lead selloff  (Adds details, quote)
 By Jennifer Kwan
 TORONTO, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock market index sank on Friday as China’s surprise move to increase bank reserve requirements raised worries about the impact of Chinese monetary tightening on global growth.
  The Chinese announcement rattled oil, gold and base metals markets, sending prices lower. [O/R] [GOL/] [MET/L]
 Suncor Energy (SU.TO) topped the list of Toronto’s downside movers, dropping 1.5 percent to C$30.75, while Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) fell 1.7 percent to C$38.27.
 China sprung its surprise on global markets on the eve of its New Year’s holiday, increasing bank reserve requirements for the second time this year in a move that shows it is intent on curbing bank lending and inflation. [ID:nTOE61B069]
 “There’s the concern that rate hikes in China will slow economic growth there and therefore demand for commodities will be affected,” said Paul Taylor, chief investment officer at BMO Harris Investment Management Inc.
 “From a Canadian market perspective that certainly is the reaction. From the broader perspective ... that means concern about slower growth for the global economy.”
 At 10:01 a.m. (1501 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 73.61 points, or 0.64 percent, at 11,361.88.
 Another big name dragging down the market was Canadian life insurer Manulife Financial (MFC.TO), down 1.7 percent at C$18.84. Manulife and Sun Life (SLF.TO), which fell 1.4 percent at C$29.97, reported disappointing results on Thursday. [CA-RCH]
 The index’s move lower was in stark contrast to Thursday’s rally in which it touched its highest level in a week as a European Union rescue plan for debt-laden Greece helped lift market confidence and commodity prices.
 On the upside, Research In Motion RIM.TO climbed 1.8 percent to C$74.20, after RBC raised its rating on the company’s stock to “top pick” from “outperform”.
 ($1=$1.06 Canadian)  (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Peter Galloway)                                       

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