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

Tue Feb 22, 2011 5:32pm 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
 (Updates with details, quotes)
 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. Most other groups fell more than 1 percent.
 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: Quote) 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] [MET/L] [GOL/]
 "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.
 Other companies that suffered a significant retreat
included Research In Motion RIM.TO, which was down 3.35
percent at C$66.61, Kinross Gold (K.TO: Quote), which slid 5.54
percent to C$15.35, and First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO: Quote), which
tumbled 7.15 percent to C$117.72.
 Oil and gas companies, along with a small handful of gold
miners, bucked the negative trend. The index's energy group 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.
 Chandler said that fears of high energy prices often dampen
economic sentiment, noting Tuesday's pullback after the
market's recent rally.
 "Having a pause to digest that move is not unusual,
uncertain or unwelcome," he said. "It's probably not a bad
thing that it's happening right now.
 "We'll probably see some more profit-taking...some
additional modest weakness in the market until we get some more
clarity."
 ($1=$0.99 Canadian)
 (Additional reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Peter
Galloway)