CANADA STOCKS-TSX touches near-year low, then pares some losses

Mon Aug 8, 2011 10:24am EDT
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 * TSX tumbles 317.61 points, or 2.61 percent, to 11,844.56
 * Cut to U.S. AAA rate shakes investor confidence
 * All 10 sectors lower, led by oil and gas
 * Index pares some losses, helped by gold stocks
 (Adds details)
 By Ka Yan Ng
 TORONTO, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock market
index hit its lowest point in nearly a year on Monday as
Standard & Poor's cut to the top-tier AAA credit rating of the
United States shook investor confidence, knocking commodity
prices lower.
 The move tracked world stocks, which tumbled on deep-rooted
jitters about the U.S. debt rating cut, overshadowing relief
that the European Central Bank was buying bonds of euro zone
strugglers Italy and Spain. [MKTS/GLOB]
 "That's really what has energized this move on the
downside. We've sauntered around all year basically on the
weaker side, and this has only emphasized that," said Fred
Ketchen, director of equity trading at ScotiaMcLeod.
 "And in fact, it has put the downside a whole lot more in
 The index had tumbled more than 3 percent shortly after the
open to 11,769.40, its lowest since Aug. 27, 2010. The index
has ended lower in seven of the last nine sessions.
 By 10:07 a.m. (1407 GMT), the resource-heavy Toronto Stock
Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE had pared some
losses, and was down 317.61 points, or 2.61 percent, at
11,844.56. All 10 main sectors were on the decline.
 The weakness was sharpest in the oil and gas sector, which
was down 4.6 percent and followed the price of oil lower. Crude
dropped close to 4 percent and was under $84 a barrel as
concern over economic growth spread. [O/R]
 Top decliners were Suncor Energy SU.TO, down 4.6 percent
at C$30.84, while Canadian Natural Resources CNQ.TO was off
4.2 percent at C$33.75.
 Economically-sensitive financial stocks were also steep
decliners, with Toronto-Dominion Bank TD.TO down 2.7 percent
at C$71.89, and Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO shedding 2.4
percent to C$48.86.
 But gold-miners were seen as a relative safe-haven
investment, with the price of bullion vaulting to a record over
$1,700 an ounce. [GOL/]
 (Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)