CANADA STOCKS-TSX sinks 3 pct on growth fears, weakest since Oct

Thu Aug 4, 2011 2:26pm EDT
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   * TSX down 441.23 points, or 3.44 pct, at 12,374.80
 * Main index hits lowest level since Oct. 5
 * All sectors drop on economic woes, materials lead
 (Updates prices, adds further details)
 By Trish Nixon
 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.
 World stocks plunged to new lows for the year on Thursday
with a sell-off in markets accelerating sharply as investors
fretted about the outlook for the global economy and piled into
safe-haven bonds. [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 2:19 p.m. (1819 GMT) the the Toronto Stock Exchange's
S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 441.23 points, or
3.44 percent, at 12,374.80.
 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
5.4 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 as U.S. crude fell
more than $5, stung by a rise in U.S. petroleum inventories and
worries about soft demand. [O/R].
 The financial sector was 1.68 percent lower despite healthy
earnings reports.
 Insurers Sun Life Financial SLF.TO and Great-West Lifeco
GWO.TO were both weaker, despite reporting
better-than-expected second-quarter profits on Wednesday.
 IGM Financial IGM.TO, one of Canada's largest mutual fund
companies, was down 1.09 percent at C$47.11 even after
reporting a higher quarterly profit thanks to stronger fee
revenues and investment income.
 "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
 Barrick Gold ABX.TO, down 5.9 percent at C$44.52 was the
biggest drag on the index, followed by Suncor Energy SU.TO
which lost 4.4 percent to trade at C$33.13, and Valeant
Pharmaceuticals International Inc VRX.TO, off 15 percent to
 Valeant fell even after reporting a 66 percent rise in
quarterly profit and raising its earnings forecast.
 The index's biggest percentage decliner was debt-laden
Yellow Media Inc YLO.TO. Shares of the telephone directory
publisher plunged 46.4 percent to C$1.04 after the company
slashed its annual dividend by 77 percent and withdrew its full
year outlook. [ID:nL3E7J4381]
 Canada's two biggest airlines, both of which reported
stronger-than-expected results on Thursday, also slid with the
broader market. Air Canada ACa.TO lost 3.3 percent to C$2.04,
while WestJet Airlines WJA.TO slid 1.7 percent to C$13.99.
 ($1=$0.97 Canadian)
 (With additional reporting by Andrea Hopkins; Editing by
Jeffrey Hodgson)