Toronto stocks swoon amid panic and commodities drop

Fri Oct 10, 2008 8:26pm EDT
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By Wojtek Dabrowski

TORONTO (Reuters) - The main index of the Toronto Stock Exchange tumbled almost 6 percent on Friday as the latest wave of panic swept through global equity markets, wiping billions of dollars more from investor portfolios and pushing commodity prices sharply lower.

The size of the rout seen in recent weeks continues to balloon: the benchmark S&P/TSX composite index has lost roughly C$440 billion in market value since the end of August.

Every sector of the index moved lower on Friday with the market especially spooked by a drop in the price of oil and gold. U.S. crude fell more than 10 percent on recession fears, while gold fell about 3 percent.

"Within the Canadian equity market, there's no hiding anywhere, period," said Paul Taylor, chief investment officer at BMO Harris Investment Management Inc. "It's very hard to avoid this train wreck."

The energy and materials subgroups lost 8.43 percent and 10.6 percent, respectively. Financials shed 3.33 percent.

Net loss leaders included zinc giant Teck Cominco, which fell 14.4 percent to close at C$16.36. Energy group Nexen lost 13.6 percent to finish at C$14.01.

Agnico-Eagle Mines fell 14.2 percent to end at C$47.46. Inmet Mining swooned almost 20 percent to C$28.65.

The S&P/TSX composite index fell 535.02 points, or 5.57 percent, to close at 9,065.16. The benchmark is down 16.1 percent in the last week alone.   Continued...

<p>A Bay Street sign is seen at the financial district in Toronto, October 10, 2008. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>