October 23, 2009 / 9:01 PM / in 8 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX tumbles on weaker oil, Agrium outlook

 * S&P/TSX composite sheds 1.3 percent
 * Weak oil, Agrium and profit-taking blamed
 * Energy stocks off 2 pct, financials down 1.23 pct
 * Agrium drops 7 pct after it issues weak outlook  (Adds details)
 By Wojtek Dabrowski
 TORONTO, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index fell more than 1 percent in a broad slump on Friday, dragged lower by softer oil prices and a weak outlook from fertilizer producer Agrium Inc (AGU.TO).
 Every one of the 10 main groups of the benchmark paced lower, including the heavyweight energy and financials groups, which lost 2.01 percent and 1.23 percent, respectively.
 The resources-laden materials group gave up 0.94 percent.
 The weak trading session came after Agrium said it expects quarterly earnings to be 90 percent to 95 percent below those of the year-earlier period. The shares dropped 7.1 percent. [ID:nBNG237646]
 "Obviously, it's a big blow," said Gavin Graham, director of investments at BMO Asset Management. However, he added that after a weak profit report from rival Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (POT.TO) on Thursday "it shouldn't have been a major surprise".
 Agrium was the second-biggest net loser, shedding C$4.21 to finish at C$55.52. Potash fell 2 percent to C$105.95.
 Meanwhile, oil fell towards $80 a barrel as a stronger U.S. dollar and doubts over the pace of economic recovery choked crude's recent rally. [O/R]
 Canadian energy giant EnCana Corp (ECA.TO) dropped 2.73 percent to C$63.10. Suncor Energy (SU.TO) gave up 2.12 percent to finish at C$38.37.
 Overall, the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE dropped 151.24 points, or 1.31 percent, to end at 11,382.13.
 The S&P/TSX 60 index of big Canadian blue chips fell 1.46 percent to finish at 676.67.
 Among financials, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) dropped 1.7 percent to close at C$64.36. Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) fell 1 percent to C$64.97.
 BlackBerry maker Research In Motion RIM.TO also had a weaker session, dropping 2.3 percent to finish at C$69.20.
 Sal Masionis, a stockbroker at Brant Securities, said that profit-taking played a role in Friday's session, after the market's recent rally.
 In early October, the index retreated to about 10,900. This week, it almost crested 11,600.
 Masionis said the recent surge doesn't necessarily mean that investor confidence has returned to the market.
 "I think there's still a tremendous amount of nervousness out there," he said. "The system is still under big stress."
 ($1=$1.05 Canadian)  (Reporting by Wojtek Dabrowski; editing by Peter Galloway)   

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