TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index tumbled to its lowest closing level in six weeks on Thursday, as pressure on commodities and cyclical resource stocks spilled over to other sectors, including deep losses for financials.
“The market wants to go down and this commodity thing is really hurting,” said John Kinsey, portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities Ltd, suggesting also that the wave of comments from U.S. Federal Reserve officials has not helped.
He added “it’s probably hurting the banks as well because they would have big loans,” noting that the oil companies’ loan facilities get reviewed once a year, in the fall.
The financials group fell 1.6 percent, while the energy group plunged 2.3 percent as the TSX had its sharpest drop since Oct. 30.
The most influential stock on the index was Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc VRX.TO, which dropped 6.2 percent to C$98.14.
Valeant’s stock has slumped from well above C$300 in September amid sharp scrutiny of its business practices.
Manulife Financial Corp (MFC.TO) fell 3.7 percent to C$21.60 after Canada’s biggest insurer reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit on oil and gas investment losses.
Among bank stocks, Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) was most influential, falling 1.3 percent.
Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO) fell 2.4 percent. The company sent a letter to the shareholders of Canadian Oil Sands Ltd arguing why they should accept its takeover offer.
At the close, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 214.75 points, or 1.61 percent, to 13,127.18, with all ten of the index’s 10 main groups in negative territory.
Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) provided the biggest lift to the market, rising 4.1 percent after it said it will sell its stake in four non-core assets in Nevada for $720 million, putting the company on track to meet its 2015 debt-reduction target.
Gildan Activewear Inc rallied almost 5 percent after announcing third quarter results and updating full year guidance.
Canadian Tire (CTCa.TO) rose 2.1 percent after the retailer reported earnings that beat expectations.
Encana Corp (ECA.TO) rose 1.8 percent after the natural gas producer posted a smaller-than-expected loss.
U.S. crude CLc1 prices settled at $41.75 a barrel, down 2.75 percent, trading at its lowest in more than two months after data showed U.S. stockpiles are still rising, while Brent crude LCOc1 lost 3.7 percent to $44.14.[O/R]
Gold futures GCc1 fell 0.4 percent to $1,086.6 an ounce. [GOL/]
Copper prices CMCU3 declined 2.4 percent to $4,823.5 a tonne. [MET/L]
Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Paul Simao and Grant McCool