CANADA STOCKS-Prices plunge as commodity fears grip market

Mon Oct 27, 2008 4:53pm EDT
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*TSX closes below 9,000 for first time since Dec. 2004

*Energy sector falls 9.2 percent as oil falls below $64

*Materials sector tumbles 11 percent

(Adds official closing numbers, quote, details)

TORONTO, Oct 27 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index tumbled on Monday to close below 9,000 for the first time since December 2004 as worries intensified that the faltering global economy will further erode markets for Canadian-produced commodities such as oil and metals.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE lost more than 300 points in the last half hour of trade, and closed down 756.75 points, or 8.14 percent, at 8,537.34, with all of its 10 main groups lower.

Toronto's fall was far steeper than that of U.S. stocks due to its heavy weighting in commodity-related issues, said Andrew Pyle, investment adviser at ScotiaMcLeod in Peterborough, Ontario.

"The continued pressure on the commodity prices remains a theme and that's really coming from this realization that the global contagion of weaker economic growth in North America is becoming more pervasive," Pyle said. "In other words, it's hitting more countries."

"At the end of the day, you stack up the TSX to the S&P and we still have much greater weighting and sensitivity to commodity prices."   Continued...