CANADA STOCKS-TSX struggles as Japan, Mideast fears weigh

Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:49pm EDT
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* TSX down 92.50 points at 13,454.46

* Seven of 10 sectors stronger

* Oil, base metals, gold rebound (Updates to afternoon, recasts)

By Claire Sibonney

TORONTO, March 16 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index reversed a near 1 percent gain in volatile trading on Wednesday as Japan's nuclear crisis and clashes in the Middle East weighed on investor sentiment despite higher commodity prices.

Materials slumped 0.9 percent after an early rally on rebounding prices for copper and gold. Teck Resources TCKb.TO slipped 1.6 percent to C$50.86 and Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO: Quote) fell 1.3 percent to C$47.82. [MET/L] [GOL/]

"The market hates, hates, hates uncertainty and we have nothing but, right now," said Rick Hutcheon, president and chief operating officer at RKH Investments.

"You've got the magnitude of the Japanese problems still to be unveiled ... you've got the unrest in the Middle East, you've got the uncertainty about the strength in the U.S. economy ... I could go on."

The outcome of Japan's nuclear crisis remained uncertain on Wednesday after workers withdrew briefly from a stricken power plant because of surging radiation levels and a helicopter failed to drop cooling water on the most troubled reactor. [ID:nL3EF450]   Continued...