April 15, 2013 / 5:29 PM / 5 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-Plunge in gold miners takes 2 pct off TSX index

(Adds comment, details, updates prices)

* TSX falls to lowest level since Nov 28 on commodity sell-off

* Barrick Gold falls 10 pct

* China’s disappointing growth hits resource shares

By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO, April 15 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index fell more than 2 percent to its lowest level in almost five months on Monday, as disappointing growth in China spurred a sharp sell-off in gold that weighed on miners and took a heavy toll on the resource-rich market.

Barrick Gold Corp, the world’s biggest producer of gold, plunged more than 10 percent as the price of the precious metal fell to a two-year low below $1,400 per ounce.

“Gold has completely lost its value in terms of the stock prices of gold companies,” said Barry Schwartz, portfolio manager at Baskin Financial Services. “Gold companies used to trade for two or three times net asset value. Those days are gone.”

Teck Resources Ltd fell 8.3 percent to C$25.84, and First Quantum Minerals lost 9.8 percent to C$16.22. Goldcorp Inc fell 3.9 percent to C$28.88 and Kinross Gold Corp lost 10.4 percent to C$5.75.

Investors, already reeling from bullion’s fall at the end of last week, also retreated from other commodities including copper and oil after China undershot expectations with first-quarter growth of 7.7 percent. China is the world’s top metals consumer.

“Whenever you have some nervousness in the market, some bad news like that on the headline definitely accelerates things in the short term,” said Youssef Zohny, portfolio manager at Stenner Investment Partners of Richardson GMP.

Suncor Energy Inc, Canada’s largest energy company, fell 3.8 percent to C$27.74 and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd slipped 3.3 percent to C$30.25.

Brent crude sank below $101 a barrel, a nine-month low, while copper hit its lowest price since October 2011 as the Chinese data reinforced fears about the global economic outlook.

“The prices of these commodities are falling as though China is growing at 3 percent,” Schwartz said. “It’s a complete over reaction.”

With resource stocks making up around 40 percent of the weight of the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index , the index took the commodity price swoon harder than most.

At 12:56 p.m. (1656 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 269.68 points, or 2.19 percent, at 12,067.91, its lowest level since late November.

But the sharp falls in a sector already hit by concerns that projects are running over budget could yet entice value investors.

“It’s a tug of war,” Zohny said. “Valuations across the sector seem to be pretty attractive, especially relative to the rest of the market, however there is quite a bit of fear when you see such fast downward momentum.” (Reporting by Alastair Sharp; editing by Leslie Adler)

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