CANADA STOCKS-TSX off 3.5 pct, weakest since Oct on growth fears

Thu Aug 4, 2011 12:15pm EDT
 
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   * TSX down 450.19 points, or 3.51 pct, at 12,365.84
 * Main index hits lowest level since Oct. 5
 * All sectors drop on economic woes, materials lead
 * U.S. stocks also drop about 3 pct
 (Recasts, adds analyst comment, further details)
 By Trish Nixon and Jeffrey Hodgson
 TORONTO, Aug 4 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
plunged more than 3 percent on Thursday to its lowest level in
nearly 10 months as a wave of selling slammed world markets,
driven by fears about global growth.
 Major U.S. stock indexes also fell about 3 percent after a
labor market report there became the latest datapoint to show
the U.S. economy has stalled. [.N]
 World stocks had their worst day in a year as worries about
a global slowdown intensified and investors piled more money
into safe-haven assets like bonds and gold, which hit another
record. [MKTS/GLOB]
 "The market's out of its mind here, and we're into some
form of crazy panic selling," said Barry Schwartz, portfolio
manager at Baskin Financial Services.
 "Hopefully, job reports tomorrow will show some
stabilization and the market will regain its sanity, because
it's completely lost it."
 At 11:52 a.m. (1552 GMT) the the Toronto Stock Exchange's
S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 450.19 points, or
3.51 percent, at 12,365.84.
 All 10 of the TSX's main groups were lower, led by the
heavyweight materials, energy and financial sectors.
 "People are saying: Let's get out and we'll keep our money,
and buy again down the road when things look even worse and
everything is cheaper," said Fred Ketchen, director of equity
trading at ScotiaMcLeod.
 Materials stocks, which include heavyweight miners, fell
nearly 5 percent as copper prices hit a one-month low. Even a
record bullion price failed to support gold miners.
[MET/L][GOL/]
 The TSX's energy group lost 3.8 percent, stung by a rise in
U.S. petroleum inventories and worries about soft demand amid
the U.S. and European debt crises and a struggling global
economy. [O/R].
 The financial sector was 2 percent lower despite healthy
earnings reports by some of Canada's big insurers.
 Fertilizer giant Potash Corp POT.TO, down 5.3 percent at
C$52.13, was the biggest drag on the index, followed by Suncor
Energy Inc SU.TO, down 4 percent at C$33.24.
 A slew of positive earnings did little to stem the losses.
 Sun Life Financial SLF.TO and Great-West Lifeco GWO.TO
were both weaker, despite reporting better-than-expected
second-quarter profits on Wednesday.
 "If you're looking around for good news, we've got earnings
out ... but not even a surprise in the upside on earnings is
helping. People have got a very very negative view on
everything and they are running to the sidelines," Ketchen
said.
 ($1=$0.97 Canadian)
 (With additional reporting by Andrea Hopkins)