CORRECTED - CANADA STOCKS-TSX hits 4-year low as banks feel heat

Wed Nov 19, 2008 5:45pm EST
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(Corrects paragraph 9 to show Scotiabank reports earnings on Dec. 2, but does not kick off banks' earnings season)

*TSX closes at lowest level since September 2004

*Financials lead index lower, down 5 percent

*Scotiabank down 5 percent after writedown warning (Adds details, updates closing figures)

TORONTO, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Toronto Stock Exchange's main index sank to its lowest level in four years on Wednesday in a broad selloff led by key resource and financials issues on gloomy news from the banking sector.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 345.17 points, or 3.9 percent, at 8,490.56, its lowest level since September 2004. Its previous 2008 low was 8,537.34, hit in late October.

Financials, which comprise about one third of the index's total weighting, slid 4.9 percent after Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO: Quote) said late on Tuesday it would take a C$890 million pretax charge in the fourth quarter because of sliding securities valuations in volatile markets. [ID:nN19332518]

Scotiabank sank 5.2 percent to C$35.24, while Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO: Quote) fell 5.1 percent to C$48.29.

Elsewhere in the sector, Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote) dropped 5.4 percent to C$41.19 and Manulife Financial (MFC.TO: Quote) fell 6.2 percent at C$20.97.   Continued...