CANADA STOCKS-TSX erases 2013 gains after weak U.S. data

Wed Apr 3, 2013 4:52pm EDT
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* TSX closes down 259.98 points, or 2.05 pct, at 12,422.12
    * Nine of 10 main index sectors decline
    * CP Rail train derails; shares off 3 percent
    * TD names new CEO; shares down
    * Manulife slips 3 pct after executives in Asia leave

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, April 3 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
tumbled more than 2 percent on Wednesday, recording its biggest
one-day percentage decline in more than nine months, as sluggish
U.S. economic data dampened hopes for a smooth recovery.
    The selloff erased all the gains the index has made since
the start of the year and took it to its lowest point in more
than three months.
    U.S. data showed companies hired at the weakest pace in five
months in March as recent strong demand for construction jobs
evaporated, while growth in the vast services sector slowed.
    The reports sparked concern that the recent pick-up in U.S.
economic growth is losing momentum and provoked caution among
investors ahead of Friday's all-important government report on
employment for March. Wall Street, oil and commodity prices all
slumped in response. 
    "It's a broad selloff based on fear that there isn't going
to be a rebound anytime soon," said Fred Ketchen, director of
equity trading at ScotiaMcLeod.
    "People are nervous," he added. "They're saying, 'I'm going
to run for the hills and I'm going to take my money with me.'"
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 closed down 259.98 points, or 2.05 percent, at
12,422.12, putting its year-to-date return in negative
territory. It was the biggest percentage drop for the index
since June 21, 2012. 
    "I think the market is ahead of where the fundamentals would
put it," said Michael Sprung, president of Sprung Investment
Management. "There's likely to be a correction, and this could
be the beginning of it."
    The benchmark Canadian index, falling for the third straight
session, has had a wobbly climb since its lows in November, and
it has badly trailed the record runs of its U.S. peers.
    Nine of the 10 sectors of the index were in the red.
    Financials, the index's weightiest sector, lost 1.4 percent.
Royal Bank of Canada declined 1.4 percent to C$61.34.
    Shares of Manulife Financial Corp were down 3.2
percent at C$14.58 after news the insurer was losing two of its
top executives in Asia. 
    In other company news, Toronto-Dominion Bank said
Chief Executive Ed Clark plans to retire in late 2014, and
Bharat Masrani, group head of U.S. personal and commercial
banking, will succeed him. TD shares closed down 1.2 percent at
    Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd shares were down 3
percent C$122.51. The company said early estimates are that
about four barrels of crude oil were spilled when one of its
trains derailed in northern Ontario. 
    The energy group gave back 3.3 percent. Suncor Energy Inc
 also fell 3.3 percent to C$30.17. 
    The materials sector, which includes miners, fell 3.4
    Shares of gold producers dived 4.7 percent, extending this
year's dramatic decline. The group is down more than 20 percent
this year to date.
    The price of bullion fell 1.5 percent, hitting a nine-month
low. Barrick Gold Corp fell 5.6 percent to C$27.09.
    Outside the main stock index, Absolute Software Corp
 soared 16.4 percent to C$6.39 after the company said
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd will use its software,
which tracks stolen mobile devices.