UPDATE 2-Toronto stocks slump 200 pts in broad retreat

Mon Dec 17, 2007 2:46pm EST
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(Updates numbers, adds details, quotes)

TORONTO Dec 17 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index slid broadly on Monday afternoon, pulled lower by tumbling resource shares and concern over the health of the U.S. economy.

Energy and materials shares led the way, down 2 percent and 3.4 percent respectively, with Suncor Energy SU.TO down C$2.39, or 2.3 percent, at C$102.95 and Barrick Gold ABX.TO falling 84 Canadian cents, or 2.2 percent, to C$37.72.

The energy group's slide mirrored oil's retreat, as crude fell $1.13 to $90.14 a barrel on the possibility that OPEC could decide to raise crude output when it meets in February.

The price of gold came back from earlier declines, but the gold subsector remained off 4 percent.

Worries over rising inflation in the U.S. also weighed on the Canadian index as investor expectations of further interest rate cuts were dampened.

"The sneeze is now giving everyone a cold," said Lex Kerkovius, senior research analyst at McLean & Partners Wealth Management Ltd., in Calgary.

"We saw it in the international markets overnight, and it's generally carrying on."

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 251.98 points, or 1.8 percent, at 13,422.25 with all of the TSX's 10 main groups in negative territory.   Continued...