CANADA STOCKS-TSX slips to one-week low as China fears hit sentiment

Wed Mar 12, 2014 10:53am EDT
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* TSX falls 46 points, or 0.33 percent, to 14,221.23
    * Nine of 10 main index sectors decline
    * Canadian Natural drop weighs on market

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, March 12 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
declined on Wednesday to its lowest in more than a week as
worries about a slowdown in China weighed on prices of oil and
copper, hitting investor sentiment and sending shares in almost
every major sector lower.
    Recent sluggish data from China and news of the country's
first bond default raised investor nervousness about the world
second-biggest economy. The London copper benchmark 
dropped to its lowest in about four years.
    And with a referendum in Crimea looming, investors rushed to
perceived safe-haven assets such as bullion, which jumped 1.5
    The broader Toronto market, which is up about 4.4 percent
this year, slipped for a second straight session. 
    "We're into a correction now. For Canada, it's a fairly
healthy correction as we've recently had some strong moves
upwards," said Colin Cieszynski, senior market analyst at CMC
Markets Canada. "So we were getting due."
    "We're seeing a definite turn towards defensive plays in the
marketplace," he added.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 was down 46 points, or 0.33 percent, at 14,221.23. 
    "Over time, as the global economic cycle improves, it does
favor Canadian stocks," said Cieszynski, who sees any
improvement in the United States or Europe benefiting the TSX.
    Nine of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the red on
    With oil prices selling off on concerns about demand, the
energy sector gave back 1 percent. Canadian Natural Resources
Ltd lost 1.8 percent to C$39.91 and had the biggest
negative influence on market. Suncor Energy Inc declined
0.4 percent to C$36.27. 
    Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector,
slipped 0.5 percent, with Royal Bank of Canada shedding
0.6 percent to C$71.87.
    Gold-mining shares were the lone bright spot, jumping 2.1
percent. Goldcorp Inc added 3 percent to C$30.64, and
Barrick Gold Corp advanced 2 percent to C$22.43.