TSX slides on weak oil, U.S. jobs data

Thu Jul 2, 2009 5:26pm EDT
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By Nina Lex

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index finished lower on Thursday as oil prices slid and a gloomy U.S. jobs report dimmed hopes for a quick economic recovery.

U.S. employers cut more jobs than expected in June and the unemployment rate rose to 9.5 percent, the highest level in 26 years.

"It is a disappointment for sure," said Steve Ibel, institutional equities trader at Beacon Securities.

The glum jobs picture pressured oil prices, which fell below $67 a barrel.

The TSX index's energy sector sank 4.12 percent and led the retreat. Suncor Energy was down 6.3 percent at C$33.16, while EnCana sank 3 percent to C$55.96.

Also dampening the mood was data that showed euro zone unemployment hit its highest level in 10 years in May.

The S&P/TSX composite index was down 129 points, or 1.24 percent, at 10,245.91, with seven of its 10 main groups lower. Earlier in the day, it fell by as much as 1.5 percent.

Cushioning the index's fall was its mining-heavy materials sector, which was up 1.93 percent, even though metals prices were lower. Analysts said investors bid gold names in a flight to safety move.   Continued...

<p>A Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) logo is seen in Toronto November 9, 2007. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>