UDPATE 4-Commodities, rate move batter Toronto stocks

Tue Oct 21, 2008 6:07pm EDT
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* Materials lead retreat, hit by falling commodity prices

* Bank of Canada 25 point rate cut disappoints

* Sun Life Financial sinks 13.2 percent on loss (Adds quote, details)

By Jennifer Kwan

TORONTO, Oct 21 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index ended its brief winning streak by plunging more than 450 points on Tuesday, as it was hit by disappointment over a smaller-than-expected rate cut by the Bank of Canada and by falling commodity prices.

The Bank of Canada was largely forecast to cut its key rate by 50 basis points and the central bank's lowering of its overnight rate to 2.25 percent from 2.50 percent failed to fulfill expectations.

"It was widely expected that they were going to cut," said Levente Mady, broker at MF Global Canada, in Vancouver. "The question mark was whether they were going to cut 25 or 50. That might have been a little disappointing."

The TSX index was also weighed down by a quarterly loss reported by big insurer Sun Life Financial Inc (SLF.TO: Quote), which was hit by credit-related writedowns and a decline in equity markets. [ID:nN21283573]

"The focus once again seems to be turning to the real economy and to earnings reports," said Elvis Picardo, an analyst and strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.   Continued...