CANADA STOCKS-Commodities pull TSX down to December level

Mon Jan 12, 2009 11:00am EST
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* Lower oil and gold prices pull down Toronto index

* Index hits lowest level since Dec 31

* Slide extends last week's 1.6 percent selloff (Adds details and updates prices)

By Frank Pingue

TORONTO, Jan 12 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index was down more than 200 points, hitting its lowest level since Dec 31, on Monday as lower prices for key Canadian commodities such as oil and gold pulled the resource-heavy index down.

The slide extends last week's selloff, which saw the market finish the week 1.6 percent lower, a drop that was attributed largely to falling oil prices.

Nagging concerns that a global slowdown will crimp prices for oil shook the energy sector again on Monday, while the materials group buckled as prices for gold and other precious metals slid.

"It's still early in week and there are no economic reports left today so I have a feeling that the big story today will be oil and commodities," said Steve Ibel, institutional equities trader at Beacon Securities, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The materials group, home to gold mining shares, suffered the biggest drop, down 5.6 percent, while the energy sector followed with a 3 percent skid. Eight of the TSX's 10 sectors were down.   Continued...