May 4, 2012 / 1:02 PM / 5 years ago

U.S. jobs data sends TSX to 2012 low

A Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) logo is seen in Toronto November 9, 2007.Mark Blinch

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's resource-heavy main stock index tumbled to a 2012 low on Friday as energy and financial shares sank after data showed slower U.S. job creation and a euro zone economy on the edge of another recession.

Markets were rattled by soft employment numbers from the United States, as much-anticipated April nonfarm payrolls rose 115,000, well below the consensus forecast of 170,000.

The third straight monthly decline in hiring growth spurred concerns that the economy of Canada's biggest trading partner is losing momentum.

"The catalyst for today's (drop) is the job numbers," said John Kinsey, portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities Ltd. "That kind of got the ball rolling and it's never recovered."

Nine of the 10 main sectors in Canada's stock market were down, led by a 2.7 percent drop in the heavily weighted energy group as U.S. crude slid below $100 a barrel for the first time since February. <O/R>

"These oil stocks are just being trashed," said Kinsey.

Canadian energy stocks .SPTTEN were down 4.1 percent for the week and have fallen more than 7 percent this year.

Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) was the biggest drag on the sector, falling 3.7 percent to C$31.71. The oil and gas producer reported a jump in first-quarter profit on Thursday, but investors were unimpressed.

Suncor Energy (SU.TO), Canada's largest oil producer, slid 3.6 percent to C$30.19 and Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) dropped 5.2 percent to C$32.18.

Shares of Penn West Petroleum Ltd PWT.TO fell 3.3 percent to C$15.64 after it reported an 80 percent fall in first-quarter profit on decade-low natural gas prices.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished down 143.67 points, or 1.2 percent, at 11,871.23. It touched 11,824.27, its lowest level since December 29.

The TSX was down 3 percent for the week, its biggest weekly drop this year.

Financial shares were off 1.5 percent, led by Canada's largest bank, Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), which fell 1.6 percent to C$54.96.

"When the markets are sloppier it means capital markets activity is sloppier, which affects some of the banks' earnings more than others," said Paul Hand, managing director at RBC Capital Markets.

Great West Lifeco Inc's (GWO.TO) shares plunged nearly 9 percent to C$22.19 a day after Canada's second-largest life insurer reported weaker-than-expected first-quarter earnings and its stock was downgraded by Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO).

After tumbling earlier in the week, gold mining firms helped pare losses, rising 1.2 percent as bullion prices rebounded.

Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) ended up 0.4 percent at C$37.69, Goldcorp (G.TO) was up 1.3 percent to C$36.43 and Yamana Gold Inc (YRI.TO) climbed 2.8 percent to C$14.09. Eldorado Gold (ELD.TO) rose 1.5 percent to C$13.15 after the miner said its first-quarter profit rose 29 percent on Friday.

($1=0.99 Canadian)

Editing by Dan Grebler

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