CANADA STOCKS-Slide in commodities hits Toronto index

Wed Oct 22, 2008 4:50pm EDT
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* Energy issues hit as oil falls below $67 a barrel

* Materials drop as gold, base metal prices slide

* Investors eye earnings for clues to company outlook (Adds official closing figures, analyst quotes, details)

TORONTO, Oct 22 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index closed nearly 6 percent lower on Wednesday as resource issues sank along with commodity prices on concerns a global economic slowdown will slash demand, while worries over corporate earnings added to the cheerless mood.

The decline adds to Tuesday's 4.4 percent loss, which broke a two-day winning streak, as the threat of a global recession battered commodity prices across the board. [ID:nLM267609]

Investors are also watching earnings reports from both sides of the border to find clues about company operations or if they are guiding market expectations lower.

"We are in the teeth of the earnings season and many companies are going to report disappointing numbers and analysts are going to take down those numbers," said George Vasic, equity strategist at UBS Securities Canada.

"Even though people knew that was on the horizon as we moved into October, it's still jolting when it occurs."

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 558.92 points, or 5.71 percent, at 9,236.88, with all 10 of its main groups lower.   Continued...