March 20, 2012 / 4:02 PM / 7 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX down as China fear hits miners, Viterra slips

* TSX down 73.31 pts, or 0.6 pct, to 12,406.39
    * Index touches lowest in nearly 2 weeks
    * Miners, energy plays hurt by China growth fears
    * Viterra falls after deal details revealed
    * Potash Corp helps limit losses

    By Jon Cook	
    TORONTO, March 20 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index was
lower on Tuesday, with mining and energy issues hurt by fears
about a slowdown in demand from top resources consumer China.	
    Not even one of the year's largest takeover deals helped
offset losses. Viterra's share price fell 0.2 percent to
C$15.94 after Glencore said it's buying Viterra in a
cash deal valuing the company at C$6.1 billion ($6.2 billion).
    Some Viterra investors had hoped the takeover of Canada's
leading grain handler would spark multiple bids.	
    Copper and other industrial metals prices slumped after BHP
Billiton, the world's biggest miner, raised concerns
about the possibility of a sharp slowdown in iron ore demand
from powerhouse China. Earlier this month China cut its 2012
growth target to an eight-year low of 7.5 percent. 
    "No one wants to hear that things are slowing," said Barry
Schwartz, vice president and portfolio manager at Baskin
Financial Services. "China lowering its growth GDP from the top
end to the low end, one could expect to see a lower output of
steel and lower inputs of iron ore."	
    Canadian base metals mining shares fell 1.7 percent, led
lower by major copper miner Teck Resources, which fell
2.2 percent to C$35.79. Inmet Mining dropped 2.8
percent to C$56.94.	
    Gold miners were also hit, with Barrick Gold down 1
percent to C$42.66 and Goldcorp sliding 1.2 percent to
    At 11:35 a.m. (1535 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's
S&P/TSX composite index was down 73.31 points, or 0.6
percent, to 12,406.39, after hitting a two-week low at
    All of the TSX's top 10 main sectors were down, led by
energy shares which dropped 1.3 percent. Brent crude fell more
than $2 a barrel on Tuesday after reports Iran would not close
the strategically important Strait of Hormuz shipping lane.
    Top oil and gas producer Suncor Energy's shares fell
1.6 percent to C$32.92, while Canadian Natural Resources
 dropped 1.6 percent to C$34.92.	
    Commodity prices weren't helped by mixed U.S. housing data
on Tuesday, as starts fell in February, but permits for future
construction jumped to their highest level since October 2008.
    A surge in Potash Corp's shares, up nearly 4
percent to C$46.41, helped limit losses. 	
    The world's top fertilizer producer was boosted after potash
marketing consortium Canpotex said on Tuesday it has signed a
contract with Sinofert Holdings to supply the Chinese
fertilizer maker with 500,000 tonnes of potash in the second
quarter of 2012. 	
    Canpotex is jointly owned by Potash, Mosaic Co and
Agrium Inc, whose shares rose 2.2 percent to C$87.61.
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