TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index tumbled on Friday, snapping a two-day rally and ending its seventh consecutive week lower as a flare-up in global growth concerns hit fragile investor confidence.
Data showed that China’s economy expanded 8.1 percent in the first quarter, a rate that was slower than expected and the country’s weakest pace in nearly three years.
In addition, the cost of insuring Spanish debt against default hit 500 basis points for the first time on fears about the high exposure of the country’s banking sector to sovereign debt.
All 10 sectors were down, but financials made up four of the top five heaviest decliners. Among the most influential laggards, Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) was down 2.2 percent to C$54.10, Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) was off 1.9 percent to C$81.95, Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) lost 1.7 percent to C$55.88 and Manulife Financial (MFC.TO) dropped 3.4 percent to C$12.94.
“Today was a down day from the get-go. Part of the problem is that we have had a bit of a shift in investor attention,” said Pat McHugh, Canadian equity strategist at Manulife Asset Management.
“Before this week, we had kind of left Europe and China and had gone to the U.S. and we had focused on the U.S. for quite some time and of course a lot of money had been made ... people are just taking profits.”
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended down 174.26 points, or 1.43 percent, at 12,040.39. All 10 sectors were negative. The index ended the week down 0.5 percent, its seventh straight weekly loss.
The TSX is down 0.7 percent so far this year as growth-sensitive resource shares have lagged heavily.
Adding to unease about the global economy, two U.S. reports on Friday sent mixed signals to the U.S. Federal Reserve about how much room there might be to bolster economic growth.
Robert Kavcic, economist at BMO Capital Markets, noted that valuations on the TSX and S&P 500 are also more normal now than they were six months ago, when they looked quite cheap. “That tailwind is pretty well gone for now,” he said.
In individual company news, SNC-Lavalin (SNC.TO) lost 4.2 percent to C$38.40 after the engineering giant’s headquarters were searched by police following an internal company investigation that found a mysterious $56 million in improperly authorized payments.
Shaw Communications .SJRb.TO sank 5.2 percent to C$19.69 after reporting its quarterly earnings rose more than 3 percent on strength at its cable and satellite businesses, but the company said it expected a marginal decline in profit at the cable unit this year.
Canada’s Chorus Aviation CHRb.TO fell 4.6 percent to C$3.54 after losing a contract to run Thomas Cook Group (TCG.L) vacation flights from Canada three years before the contract ends because Thomas Cook is seeking more operating flexibility.
Editing by Chizu Nomiyama