April 24, 2008 / 3:19 PM / in 9 years

UPDATE 1-Toronto stocks fall on sour outlooks, commodities

(Adds details, analyst)

By Jonathan Spicer

TORONTO, April 24 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index, absorbing a rush of quarterly results, fell below the 14,000-level threshold on Thursday morning as company outlooks disappointed and commodities tumbled.

The index was little changed in early action but the bottom fell out when heavyweight Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (POT.TO) took a sharp downturn, adding to losses in the energy and gold sectors.

Potash, the world’s top fertilizer producer, which has played a leading role in the TSX index’s overall rise this month, was down 4.9 percent and represented the TSX’s biggest weighted loser.

Commodities -- which have supported the resource-heavy TSX this year amid a broad downturn in other stock markets -- offered little support for a second straight day.

“The danger is that everybody is piling into the same assets at the same time ... and people are getting nervous,” Andrew Martyn, portfolio manager at Davis-Rea, said of the energy and materials sectors.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 141.02 points, or 1.0 percent, at 13,928.78. Briefly, it dropped more than 200 points.

Potash Corp tripled its quarterly profit and boosted its outlook, but analysts said the overbought stock was due for some profit-taking. For details, see: [nN24234332]

The stock fell C$10.16 to C$196.34, helping to chop 2.7 percent off the TSX materials sector. The gold-mining subsector was off 2.6 percent with Goldcorp (G.TO) down C$1.33 at C$37.64.

The other dark spot was the energy sector, down 2.2 percent after Suncor Energy (SU.TO) narrowed its production outlook and fell C$2.13 to C$82.31. See: [nN24215970]

Among other Canadian companies reporting results, both electronics-maker Celestica (CLS.TO) and plastics-maker Nova Chemicals NCX.TO saw their stocks climb. See: [nN24503575] and [nN24509792]

On commodities markets, crude oil, natural gas and spot gold prices were all lower.

In the United States, major stock markets were also lower as investors soured on the outlooks for U.S. corporations.

$1=$1.02 Canadian Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Peter Galloway

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