April 10, 2014 / 11:49 AM / 4 years ago

TSX slumps as U.S. selloff darkens mood

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index dropped on Thursday as a selloff in U.S. technology and biotechnology stocks hit investor sentiment and fueled declines in every major sector.

A Bay Street sign, a symbol of Canada's economic markets and where main financial institutions are located, is seen in Toronto, May 1, 2013. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Further dampening the mood, data showing a significant fall in Chinese imports and exports suggested that a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy was taking hold.

The market brushed aside figures indicating the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits dropped last week to a near seven-year low.

Worries about Fed policy and a feeling that stock prices were getting extended have roiled markets over the past week and sparked a surge in volatility.

Those fears took center stage again on Thursday, a day after global equity markets rallied on comments from the Federal Reserve that helped ease concerns the U.S. central bank might adopt a more aggressive timetable for raising interest rates.

“There’s a feeling that maybe stocks have run ahead of reality,” said Fred Ketchen, director of equity trading at ScotiaMcLeod.

“The market is a little nervous today,” he added. “The nervousness has brought out a raft of sellers who have decided it’s better to take some money out of the market, sit on the sidelines and wait for things to calm down.”

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 127.58 points, or 0.88 percent, at 14,308. It is up about 5 percent this year.

“We’ve had a nice run to start the year, but the TSX will likely be flatlined from this point forward,” said Shailesh Kshatriya, associate director for client investment strategies at Russell Investments Canada.

He is cautious about the potential for more upside in gold and oil prices. Energy and mining stocks are heavily weighted on the benchmark Toronto index.

All of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the red on Thursday.

Financials, the index’s most heavily weighted sector, fell 1.1 percent. Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) gave back 1.5 percent to C$51, and Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) lost 1 percent to C$64.26.

The gold-mining sector declined 1.4 percent, oblivious to a jump in the price of the precious metal. Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) gave back 0.3 percent to C$20.54.

Goldcorp Inc (G.TO) shed 3.6 percent, to C$26.84, after the miner raised its takeover offer for Osisko Mining Corp (OSK.TO) to about C$3.6 billion ($3.3 billion) in an attempt to top a bid from Yamana Gold Inc (YRI.TO).

Osisko shares gained 0.4 percent to C$7.58, while Yamana shares lost 1.7 percent to C$9.44.

($1=$1.09 Canadian)

Editing by Peter Galloway and Chris Reese

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