CANADA STOCKS-TSX sinks on Greek vote shock; gold curbs losses

Tue Nov 1, 2011 4:57pm EDT
 
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 * TSX falls 136.96 pts, or 1.1 percent, to 12,115.10
 * Greek debt turmoil, China data drag
 * Financial, energy sectors fall
 * Gold stock rally lifts materials sector
 * U.S. economic data shows decent growth
 (Adds details, analyst's comments)
 By Jon Cook
 TORONTO, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
dropped more than 1 percent on Tuesday on Greece's surprise
move to hold a referendum on the euro-zone bailout package, but
a late rally in gold stocks helped trim the market's losses.
 Global stocks took a beating on fears a Greek vote against
the rescue package could result in a disorderly default on the
country's debt and hamper efforts to stop the euro zone's debt
woes from spiraling into a global crisis.
 "We're back to the uncertainty of where we are and where
we're going, and when you have that the markets are going to
vote with their feet," said Peter Chandler, senior vice
president and director at Canaccord Wealth Management in
Toronto.
 The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
.GSPTSE closed down 136.96 points, or 1.1 percent, at
12,115.10. The index at one point touched 11,913.72, its lowest
point in nearly two weeks.
 Commodities fell their most in a month as investors sold
everything from oil to copper and corn and turned to the
relatively safety of the U.S. dollar. [ID:nL4E7M12D3]
 Seven of the Toronto index's 10 main sectors were negative,
led lower by financial and energy stocks, which both dropped
more than 2 percent.
 Among financial shares, Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO led
the sector's 2.7 percent drop, falling 3.2 percent to C$47.04.
Bank of Nova Scotia BNS.TO fell 2.8 percent to C$51.07, and
Toronto-Dominion Bank TD.TO was down 3.1 percent at C$72.88.
 While Canadian banks have little or no direct exposure to
Greece, their profits would be hit hard by a larger global
crisis.
 The energy sector dimmed 2.1 percent as oil prices again
slipped in the face of a stronger U.S. dollar. [O/R]
 Suncor Energy SU.TO, slid 2.6 percent at C$30.92, and
Canadian Natural Resources CNQ.TO, down 3.2 percent at
C$34.05, were two of the biggest drags.
 Base metals mining shares fell more than 3 percent, led
lower by diversified miner Teck Resources TCKb.TO, which fell
4.7 percent at C$38.09.
 Canadian gold stocks jumped 2.3 percent, led by miners
Barrick Gold ABX.TO, which rose 2.2 percent to C$50.30 and
Goldcorp Inc G.TO, up 3 percent to C$49.95.
 Jeff Bradacs, a portfolio manager with Manulife Asset
Management, noted the Canadian market's late rebound from
session lows was "being driven by golds and defensive
sectors."
 "When you look at other markets overseas and in the U.S.
they're still concerned with Greece," he added.
 Consumer staple stocks, a traditional safe-have play,
closed up 0.24 percent.
 Investor optimism was also undermined by new data that
showed an unexpected slowdown in Chinese and U.S.
manufacturing, as well as Monday's news of the bankruptcy of
U.S. futures broker MF Global MF.N, following bad bets on
euro zone debt. [MKTS/GLOB]
 The U.S. data was not all negative, as an Institute for
Supply Management report showed factory activity had dipped but
stayed above the crucial 50-point mark and was accompanied by a
rise in new orders and a drop in prices. [ID:nN1E79U0NV]
 "The U.S. economy appears to not be roaring ahead, but
continues slow growth," said Bradacs. "It's still stronger than
people expected a month ago."
 ($1=$1.01 Canadian)
 (Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)