TSX hits seven-week low as Europe worries weigh

Thu Nov 24, 2011 5:28pm EST
 
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By Jon Cook

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index fell to a seven-week low on Thursday as resource-related issues slid after a meeting of European leaders failed to stem market fears about the euro zone debt crisis.

Energy and materials were the main drags on the index, each falling nearly 1 percent, as oil and gas producers and gold miners were hit by fears of a slowdown in Europe.

Enbridge Inc fell 2.8 percent to C$35.11 and Barrick Gold slumped 1.4 percent to C$49.55 to lead their respective sector's losses.

"The simple answer to present market woes continues to be Europe," said Elvis Picardo, strategist and vice-president of research at Global Securities. "On the TSX, the downside is being led by commodity groups."

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index ended the session down 86.39 points, or 0.75 percent, at 11,485.32, its lowest close since October 5.

With U.S. markets closed for Thanksgiving and the absence of any significant North American earnings news, investors were focused on the outcome of a meeting between the leaders of Germany, France and Italy - the euro zone's top three economies.

Apart from agreeing not to pressure the European Central Bank to do more to rescue the region from its debt woes, the meeting between French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti produced little for investors to rally behind.

"This is the train wreck unfolding in slow motion," said Paul Taylor, chief investment officer at BMO Harris.   Continued...