TSX battered by falling commodities

Wed Jul 23, 2008 5:47pm EDT
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By Leah Schnurr

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index tumbled for a second session in a row on Wednesday, knocked 130 points lower as resource issues fell along with commodity prices.

The materials sector led the way down as shares of gold producers were battered by a 3 percent drop in bullion prices while the U.S. dollar rose. Barrick Gold ABX.TO was down 7.9 percent.

Oil fell $4 to a six-week low, dragging down the heavyweight energy sector, after a U.S. government report highlighted concerns about softening demand. Canadian Natural Resources CNQ.TO dropped 6.3 percent.

Potash Corp of Saskatchewan POT.TO topped the net losers with a drop of 7.1 percent, to C$202.23. Workers at three mines gave the world's No.1 fertilizer producer notice that they could legally go on strike on Friday afternoon.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 130.53 points, or 0.96 percent, at 13,512.66 with four of its 10 main sectors finishing lower.

The energy and materials sectors were responsible for the lion's share of the losses, giving up 3.8 percent and 5.6 percent, respectively.

Canadian Natural Resources fell C$5.41 to C$80.28, while Barrick Gold was down C$3.82 at C$44.30.

A 3.4 percent gain by financials cushioned the fall as Canadian banks were lifted by a rally in bank stocks south of the border and by optimism that U.S. lawmakers would approve a rescue plan for mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae FNM.N and Freddie Mac FRE.N.   Continued...