CANADA STOCKS-TSX falls as lower commodity prices drag on energy, mining stocks

Tue Mar 8, 2016 11:00am EST
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* TSX down 77.93 points, or 0.58 percent, to 13,305.67

* Seven of the TSX's 10 main groups were lower

TORONTO, March 8 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index fell on Tuesday as lower commodity prices and weak Chinese trade data weighed on energy and mining stocks, but defensive stocks rose and the index still held near three-month highs.

The energy group retreated 2.2 percent, while the materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 2.4 percent.

The most influential movers on the index included Canadian Natural Resources Ltd, which fell 1.8 percent to C$34.08, and Suncor Energy, which declined 1.3 percent to C$34.12.

Crude oil prices turned lower after posting fresh multi-month highs as a global supply glut returned to focus ahead of weekly inventory data.

U.S. crude prices were down 2.4 percent to $36.99 a barrel. Copper retreated further from last week's four-month highs and gold dipped 0.2 percent, hovering just below 13-month high.

First Quantum Minerals Ltd tumbled more than 15 percent to C$6.15, while Barrick Gold Corp was down 2.8 percent at C$17.93.

Far worse than expected Chinese trade data stoked concerns about the health of the global economy, although the data was affected by the timing of the Lunar New Year holidays. Exports tumbled by the most in over six years, which imports notched their 16th straight month of decline.   Continued...