CANADA STOCKS-TSX tumbles on weaker oil, Agrium outlook

Fri Oct 23, 2009 4:58pm EDT
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 * 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: Quote).
 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.
 "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: Quote) 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: Quote) 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: Quote) dropped 1.7 percent to close at C$64.36.
Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO: Quote) 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)