* TSX down 1.22 percent at 11,492.50
* BCE shares rise on stock buyback announcement
* Gold down 2 percent; oil price falls (Adds details, comments)
By Irene Kuan
TORONTO, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index was down more than 1 percent at midday on Thursday, erasing all the gains from Wednesday’s session, as fresh economic concerns and a rising U.S. dollar pressured commodity prices and weighed on the resource-heavy TSX.
Shares of the world’s biggest gold miner, Barrick Gold (ABX.TO), fell 2.8 percent to C$41.10, while top fertilizer producer Potash Corp (POT.TO) was down 3.8 percent at C$120.70.
At 11:55 a.m. (1655 GMT), the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 142.54 points, or 1.22 percent, at 11,492.50.
“People are disappointed with the jobless claims in the U.S. this morning. Also, there’s growing concern that the massive increase within (U.S.) government debt is going to be a drag on recovery,” said Michael Sprung, president of Sprung & Co. Investment Counsel.
“The weakness in the commodities is just a reflective of that fear that the (U.S.) recovery may be impinged by rising debt levels”
Gold prices fell more than 2 percent in Europe, pressured by a U.S. dollar that climbed to a three-month high as the euro tumbled amid European financial worries. Oil prices also fell, slipping to around $72 a barrel, outweighing a surprise drop in U.S. distillate stocks ahead of an expected cold snap. [GOL/] [O/R]
Suncor Energy (SU.TO) shares were down 1.69 percent to C$37.26. On Thursday, the company said output of synthetic oil from its oil sands upgrader, located north of Fort McMurray, Alberta, would be cut in half after a fire on Tuesday. [ID:nN17164493]
The telecom sector saw a slight gain, with BCE (BCE.TO) shares leading the way, up 2.3 percent to C$26.99, after the company announced plans to buy back up to C$500 million of its stock and increase its dividend next year .[ID:nSGE5BG0EX]
($1=$1.07 Canadian) (Reporting by Irene Kuan; editing by Rob Wilson)