CANADA STOCKS-TSX dives below 14,000 on Libya turmoil

Tue Feb 22, 2011 5:02pm EST
 
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   * TSX falls 159.43 points, or 1.13 percent, to 13,963.68
 * Nine of the 10 main groups lower
 * Index's energy group the lone gainer, up 0.92 percent
 * Materials sector down 2.54 pct, financials down 1.38 pct
 By Solarina Ho
 TORONTO, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index fell
steeply on Tuesday as unrest in Libya and elsewhere in the
Middle East shook investor confidence.
 Nearly all of the index's main groups suffered heavy
losses, with the materials and financial groups suffering some
of the biggest falls, down 2.54 percent and 1.38 percent,
respectively.
 Fertilizer producer Potash Corp (POT.TO: Quote) took the biggest
hit, falling 5.34 percent. Manulife Financial (MFC.TO: Quote) dropped
4.07 percent to C$18.14, while diversified miner Teck Resources
TCKb.TO declined for a fifth straight session, tumbling 4.16
percent to C$52.07.
 World stock markets fell as Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi
signaled defiance of a revolt against his 41-year rule. He
appeared on state television and denied he had fled the
country. The turmoil fueled a flight from risky assets.
[ID:nLDE71L1CD] [MKTS/GLOB]
 "There's a whole lot of uncertainty. If there's one thing
that unnerves markets it's not knowing what the news is," Peter
Chandler, senior vice-president and director at Canaccord
Wealth Management.
 The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
.GSPTSE closed down 159.43 points, or 1.13 percent, at
13,963.68.
 The index fell after a stellar run that saw it surge above
the 14,000 mark for the first time since July 2008.
 "As far as the general theme is concerned, the unrest in
the Middle East is spreading and markets worldwide are pretty
nervous," said Levente Mady, market strategist at Union
Securities in Vancouver.
 Bucking the trend was the index's energy group, which was
up 0.92 percent. Imperial Oil (IMO.TO: Quote) jumped 3.91 percent to
close at C$50.00 while Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote) gained 1.76
percent to end at C$45.06.
 Oil prices held near 2-1/2 year highs due to worry about
oil supply resulting from the Libyan crisis. [O/R]
 "It's a mixed bag with the energy companies. Anybody who is
a predominantly domestic producer, has been a big net
beneficiary," Chandler said. "Anyone who's had significant
exposure to overseas operations -- not so clear cut."
 Nexen Inc NXY.TO helped limit the energy group's gains
with its 2.18 percent retreat to C$24.64. Talisman Energy
TLM.TO fell 1.11 percent to C$23.97.
 ($1=$0.99 Canadian)
 (Additional reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Peter
Galloway)