UPDATE 4-Toronto stocks hit 5-mth low as resources slump

Wed Jan 16, 2008 5:17pm EST
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By Leah Schnurr

TORONTO Jan 16 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index closed at its lowest level in five months on Wednesday, extending the previous day's heavy losses, as resource shares tumbled alongside commodity prices.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 241.92 points, or 1.82 percent, at 13,074.86 with all but one of its 10 main sectors on the downside.

The index has plunged more than 600 points over the two sessions, amid deepening fears of a U.S. recession and the possibility of a global economic slowdown.

Resource issues were the biggest culprits on Wednesday, with the energy and materials sectors shedding 3 percent and 3.9 percent respectively, yanked lower by declining gold and oil prices amid concerns that economic turmoil could dampen demand for resources.

Potash Corp of Saskatchewan POT.TO and Suncor Energy SU.TO were among the biggest net decliners. Potash sank C$7.83, or 5.4 percent, to C$138.00, while Suncor fell C$4.60, or 4.6 percent, to C$96.01.

"It's basically the commodities complex," said Rick Hutcheon, president and chief operating officer at RKH Investments.

"The mines have been weak today, the golds have been weak, the energy stocks have been weak -- that's usually the death-knell for the Canadian market."   Continued...