TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index dropped on Monday as disappointing economic data from China and violence in Ukraine spurred declines in almost every major sector.
A private survey showed a fall in Chinese manufacturing sector activity for a fourth consecutive month in April, renewing concerns about whether the world's second-biggest economy will be able to sustain its pace of growth.
Also rattling the market was news that pro-Russian rebels shot down a Ukrainian helicopter in fierce fighting near the eastern town of Slaviansk.
Despite Monday's weakness, the Canadian benchmark is up about 8 percent this year as natural resource shares have rallied.
"The TSX has been on a real roll of late, so today it's a little bit of a giveback," said Elvis Picardo, strategist and vice president of research at Global Securities in Vancouver.
"China is one concern that is weighing on the day," he added. "If there's any hint of sustained weakness in China, it does cause some nervousness here."
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 68.12 points, or 0.46 percent, at 14,697.03.
Investors can expect greater volatility in the coming months even as the TSX moves higher, Picardo said. "It's getting to the point where investors have to be a little cautious about the downside risk."
Nine of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the red on Monday.
Shares of energy producers gave back 0.4 percent, reflecting weakness in oil prices. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (CNQ.TO) lost 0.4 percent to C$44.79, and Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO) declined 0.3 percent to C$43.08.
Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, shed 0.2 percent, with Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) falling 0.3 percent to C$52.22.
The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, slipped 0.9 percent. Teck Resources Ltd TCKb.TO was down 2.7 percent at C$24.74, and Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) declined 0.2 percent to C$19.10.
In corporate news, BlackBerry Ltd (BB.TO) disclosed that U.S. real estate investment company Spear Street Capital is buying most of the technology firm's Canadian real estate holdings for C$305 million ($278 million). BlackBerry shares were down 3 percent at C$8.68.
Editing by Peter Galloway