TORONTO (Reuters) - Stocks stumbled on Monday as investor fears about a slowing global economic outlook weighed on financial and energy issues, pushing the benchmark index to its lowest intraday level in nearly eight months.
Extending June’s weak start, the Toronto main stock index touched 11,209.55, its weakest level since October 5, on broader worries about the financial stability of the euro zone, as well as economic weakness in United States and China.
The latest North American data to fan fears about slowing global growth was a government report on orders for U.S. factory goods, which fell in April for the third time in four.
The data added to Friday’s gloom after a Labor Department report showed U.S. job creation slowed in May for the fourth straight month. An industry report said the pace of growth in manufacturing slowed modestly in May.
“There are definitely concerns of more of a unified slowdown,” said Rick Meslin, head of Canadian equities at UBS.
“What were individual concerns now seem to be playing out into a more global phenomenon with China slowing, the United States slowing and maybe the recovery is stalling.”
The index’s key financial sector led the way lower, dropping 0.6 percent. Big names on the downside included Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO), down by 0.5 percent at C$76.50, and Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), which sank 0.8 percent to C$49.57.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE pared losses to end the day lower by 25.43 points, or 0.2 percent, at 11,335.77, extending last week’s 1.9 percent loss.
The blue-chip S&P/TSX 60 was down 1.72 points, or 0.3 percent, at 645.46.
In choppy trade, the uncertain worldwide growth outlook generally flushed more investors out of riskier assets on Monday.
But world shares and some commodities were down, while the euro climbed and bonds eased off last week’s record low yields as speculation mounted that authorities will manage to keep the euro zone intact. <FRX/> <MKTS/GLOB>
Still, the focus remains squarely on Europe, said Elvis Picardo, strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.
“We’re on track to test support at 11,000. There is a serious lack of confidence in what’s happening, in the ability of the EU to stay together and the ability of the euro to continue as a currency going forward,” he said.
In individual company news, Research In Motion’s RIM.TO share price on Monday breached a level that technical analysts say could spur further declines, after an analyst warned that the BlackBerry maker’s sales were dismal last month. RIM shares fell 6.1 percent to C$10.03.
Shares of Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan POT.TO and Mosaic Co (MOS.N), two of the world’s biggest fertilizer makers, fell to their lowest levels in nearly 22 months on Monday, highlighting the growing bearish sentiment around producers of crop-boosting soil nutrients. Potash ended the day down one-half percent at C$38.89.
Canada’s biggest telecommunications company, BCE Inc (BCE.TO), was up 0.6 percent at C$41.12. It said over the weekend it has joined with a group of private equity fund managers to buy data center company Q9 Networks Inc for C$1.1 billion.
Additional reporting by Jon Cook; Editing by Kenneth Barry