*TSX down 137.32 points, or 1.2 percent, at 11,670.18
*Nine out of 10 TSX main groups lower
*Reuters poll sees TSX index higher end 2010 (Updates to close)
By Claire Sibonney
TORONTO, June 24 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index closed sharply lower on Thursday despite strong commodity prices and moderately positive U.S. economic data as investors continued to fret about Europe’s debt woes and the pace of the global economic recovery.
Among heavyweight decliners, Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) lost 1.21 percent to C$53.10, Suncor Energy (SU.TO) slipped 2.2 percent to C$33.30 and Teck Resources TCKb.TO shed 3.31 percent to C$34.49.
U.S. data showing a drop in initial jobless claims and a rise in long-lasting manufactured goods in May provided some comfort, but the reports were not enough to offset jitters after recent weak economic news, including figures on Wednesday that showed a sharp decline in U.S. new home sales. [ID:nN24110731]
The U.S. Federal Reserve’s low key statement about the economy underscored concerns. [ID:nN24110731]
The Toronto stock index’s retreat tracked the path of U.S. and overseas equities, which eased on concerns about tepid global growth and on renewed fears about Greek debt. [MKTS/GLOB] [.N]
“We actually have some pretty good commodity moves today ... so one would think that Canadian markets should be much higher but that’s not the case,” said Barry Schwartz, vice-president and portfolio manager at Baskin Financial Services.
Gold and copper prices rallied while oil ended firmer. [O/R] [GOL/] [MET/l]
“The market is ignoring good economic data today, for whatever reason it’s in a grumpy mood,” he added.
“We’ve got some worries out of Greece again. Their spreads have gone higher and the Greek market had a terrible day.”
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 137.32 points, or 1.16 percent, at 11,670.18, with nine of its 10 main groups lower. The small healthcare group was up 0.9 percent.
“The TSX is really just trading down on light volume, and looking at the news that there are still some debt issues in Europe, Greece in particular,” said Steve Ibel, institutional equities trader at Beacon Securities.
He noted that Canadian markets were particularly thin ahead of the summits of the Group of Eight and the Group of 20 in Ontario this weekend.
Ibel added that investors were also still focused on the possibility of an asset bubble in China.
In a Reuters poll published on Thursday, Canada’s main stock index was seen ticking higher throughout the second half of the year and climbing even further into the middle of 2011.
But the forecasts into next year were in a wide range, reflecting uncertainty about the pace of recovery. [ID:nN22150103]
($1=$1.04 Canadian) (Reporting by Claire Sibonney; Editing by Peter Galloway)