UPDATE 2-Toronto stock index drops 200 pts on commodity fall

Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:45pm EDT
 
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(Updates stock movement, adds details)

TORONTO, April 29 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index skidded more than 200 points on Tuesday, falling below the 14,000-mark amid a selloff of resource shares as commodity prices retreated.

Energy and mining companies led the way down as oil and gold prices fell amid a firmer U.S. dollar. The materials and energy sectors shed 4 percent and 2.5 percent respectively. Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM.TO: Quote) was down C$2.22, or 3.6 percent, at C$59.59, and Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote) gave up C$3.70, or 3.2 percent, at C$111.80.

Gildan Activewear (GIL.TO: Quote) was among the biggest drags on the benchmark, diving C$11.32, or 31.2 percent, to C$24.94, after it cut its second-quarter and full-year forecasts for earnings per share. The consumer discretionary group was down 2.1 percent.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 241.97 points, or 1.72 percent, at 13,843.88 at midday with all but one of its 10 main sectors lower.

The gold producers subindex slumped 3.7 percent, while U.S. gold futures tumbled to a three-month low of $875 an ounce. Meanwhile, oil, another key underlying commodity for the resource-heavy Toronto benchmark, slid back from the record high near $120 a barrel it reached on Monday.

Fertilizer company Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (POT.TO: Quote) fell C$9.92, or 5.1 percent, to C$185.68.

Investors were also taking in a host of corporate results, including Rogers Communications (RCIb.TO: Quote), which said its first-quarter profit more than doubled and announced a deal with Apple (AAPL.O: Quote) to launch the iPhone in Canada later this year.

Rogers rose C$1.14, or 2.7 percent, to C$44.04. The gain helped the telecom sector push up 0.7 percent, making it the lone sector in positive territory.

WestJet Airlines (WJA.TO: Quote) reported a jump in profit amid a strong domestic economy and international growth. Shares of Canada's second-largest air carrier were up 44 Canadian cents, or 2.6 percent, at C$17.12.

($1=$1.01 Canadian) (Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Peter Galloway)