TSX drops on weak data; golds, Potash cushion fall

Thu Aug 19, 2010 5:05pm EDT
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By Jennifer Kwan

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index ended lower on Thursday after weaker-than-expected U.S. and Canadian economic data sparked investor jitters and underscored the fragility of the global recovery.

Data showed new U.S. jobless claims scaled a nine-month high last week and Mid-Atlantic factory activity contracted in August for the first time in more than a year.

"Once again it's weak data coming not so much from Canada but from the U.S.," said Elvis Picardo, analyst and strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver. "That's again raised concerns about the extent of slowing growth in the U.S. Those concerns tend to spill over to the rest of the world."

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index ended the session down 70.90 points, or 0.6 percent, at 11,710.18.

In Canada, data showed wholesale trade for June and the leading indicator for July came in lower than expected, which didn't help to lift investor spirits.

"It's a very skittish market. It's very tender in which direction it wants to go," said Greg Eckel, senior vice president Morgan Meighen & Associates, referring to the index's reaction to daily data releases.

Eight of the index's 10 main groups fell into the red, led by weakness in financials and energy.

Among key decliners were Toronto-Dominion Bank, off 1.6 percent at C$70.15, and Suncor Energy, down 0.9 percent at C$32.99.   Continued...