CANADA STOCKS-TSX plunges to 5-year low on oil, TD warning

Thu Nov 20, 2008 4:57pm EST
 
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*Index drops 9 pct to lowest level since Nov 2003

*Financials tumble 12.2 percent on bank warnings

*Oil falls below $50 a barrel on recession fears (Adds closing numbers, quotes, details)

TORONTO, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Toronto Stock Exchange's main index sank to its lowest level in five years on Thursday as an earnings warning from Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO: Quote) pounded the financials group and the price of crude slid below $50 a barrel.

The heavily-weighted financials group plunged 12.2 percent, pulled lower by TD Bank, which announced it would take after-tax charges of C$350 million for credit-trading losses. Earlier this week, Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO: Quote) said it would take after-tax charges of C$595 million. [ID:nN20398511]

TD Bank sank 12.7 percent to C$43.57, while Scotiabank fell 13.3 percent to C$30.54.

All the other big Canadian banks had steep losses as worries mounted of more charges to come. Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote) dropped 13.5 percent to C$35.65, and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO: Quote) was down 12.5 percent at C$42.28.

Heavyweight insurer Manulife Financial (MFC.TO: Quote) tumbled 14.8 percent to C$17.86.

"This is a final confirmation, if that was ever needed, that the problems we're seeing in the rest of the world have been affecting the Canadian economy in a big way," said Elvis Picardo, analyst and strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.   Continued...