CANADA STOCKS-TSX sags as commodities fall, banks stumble

Fri Jan 15, 2010 1:18pm EST
 
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 * Index down 0.98 percent at 11,688.64
 * Weak oil, gold prices hit commodity issues
 * Financials slide on U.S. bank fee concerns, JPMorgan
 (Adds details, quotes)
 By Jennifer Kwan
 TORONTO, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index was
down 1 percent at midday on Friday as commodity prices fell and
bank shares were hit by concerns over a bank fee proposed by
U.S. president Barack Obama, as well as by disappointing
results from JPMorgan.
 Heavyweight names on the downside included Kinross Gold
(K.TO: Quote), which dropped 4.6 percent to C$19.78, while Suncor
Energy (SU.TO: Quote) dropped 1.6 percent to C$36.93.
 The price of oil fell below $79 a barrel, in part due to
the lingering effects of disappointing U.S. economic data
released on Thursday, while gold prices also dropped. [O/R]
[GOL/]
 The financial sector was weighed down in part by the
prospect of a U.S. fee that would see banks pay up to $117
billion to reimburse taxpayers for the sector's financial
bailout. [ID:nN13152862]
 "There's discussion out there whether some Canadian banks
might fall under this new bank tax in the United States," said
Gareth Watson, an equity advisor at ScotiaMcLeod.
 The financial sector also came under pressure as JPMorgan
Chase & Co (JPM.N: Quote) reported deep fourth-quarter loan losses
that raised concerns about earnings for the broader sector.
[.N]
 Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote) was down 1.1 percent at
C$55.12, while Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO: Quote) sank 1.2 percent
to C$63.54.
 At 12:53 p.m. (1753 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's
S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 115.74 points, or
0.98 percent, at 11,688.64.
 Elsewhere, fertilizer producer Agrium (AGU.TO: Quote) sank 4
percent to C$64.24.
 On Thursday, CF Industries Holdings Inc (CF.N: Quote) withdrew its
hostile bid to buy rival U.S. fertilizer maker Terra Industries
Inc TRA.N, bringing their year-long battle to an end, while
Agrium continued its efforts to buy CF. [ID:nN14179782]
 ($1=$1.03 Canadian)
 (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Rob Wilson)