UPDATE 3-Weak metals, oil drag Toronto index to steep loss

Fri Aug 15, 2008 5:30pm EDT
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(Adds details, quotes, U.S. figures)

* TSX index plunges 2 percent to lowest close since March

* Commodity retreat drags down miners, energy companies

* Seven of ten subgroups retreat

By Cameron French

TORONTO, Aug 15 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index plunged on Friday to its lowest level since March, capping off a losing week as resource stocks fell on retreating oil and metal prices.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended the session down 262.21 points, or 2 percent, at 13,096.70. For the week, the index dropped 1.8 percent.

Oil dropped to below $114 a barrel on faltering global demand and rising supply, sliding further from its record high above $147 in July, and pulling the heavily weighted TSX energy subgroup down 3.2 percent. Suncor Energy SU.TO sagged almost 5 percent.

The materials subgroup was even harder hit, dropping 4.2 percent on falling prices for copper, zinc and particularly gold, which sagged below $800 an ounce for the first time since last December.   Continued...