UPDATE 3-Weak resources send Toronto stocks tumbling

Wed Mar 19, 2008 3:25pm EDT
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(Updates to late afternoon)

TORONTO, March 19 (Reuters) - Falling resource shares continued to pull the Toronto Stock Exchange's main index lower on Wednesday afternoon, sending the index down by as much as 300 points in the wake of sagging commodities prices.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 258.64 points, or 1.97 percent, at 12,878.06, easing back from a session low of 12,832.38.

The materials sector was the biggest loser on the benchmark, shedding 5 percent, while its smaller subindex of gold producers and miners gave up 3.7 percent and 5.4 percent respectively.

Potash Corp of Saskatchewan POT.TO was the index's biggest net decliner by weight, falling C$9.31, or 5.8 percent, to C$150.06. Barrick Gold ABX.TO slid C$2.27, or 5.6 percent, to C$46.51.

The price of gold was stung by profit-taking after Tuesday's interest rate cut from the U.S. Federal Reserve. Other metals also followed bullion's downward momentum.

The large energy sector was down 3.6 percent, with Suncor Energy SU.TO giving up C$4.92, or 4.8 percent, at C$98.00 and Petro-Canada PCA.TO off C$2.77, or 6.1 percent, to C$42.95.

Oil prices were hit by worries that the global demand for energy could be weakened by a slowdown in the United States.

The small telecoms group was down 2.5 percent, while Rogers Communication RCIb.TO dipped C$1.30, or 3.7 percent, to C$34.10.   Continued...