CANADA STOCKS-TSX sheds 2.4 pct as energy sector gets pounded

* TSX falls 342.78 points, or 2.41 percent, to end at
    * All of 10 main index sectors decline
    * Energy shares tumble 5.5 percent

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index on
Wednesday posted its biggest single-day percentage drop in about
18 months as fears about sliding oil demand hit the commodity
price and shares of energy producers.
    The selloff in the price of oil has begun to hurt sentiment
for the broader equity market. The benchmark TSX dropped 2.4
percent, sliding to its lowest in nearly eight weeks.
    Already battered oil prices slid to five-year lows after the
Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries cut its
forecast for oil demand in 2015. 
    The market's heavyweight energy sector, down about 42
percent since mid-June, gave back another 5.5 percent.
    The plunge in oil prices has raised questions about the
financial health of energy companies and fears that the national
economy might be impacted.
    "It's a big risk-off day," said Marcus Xu, president and
portfolio manager at M.Y. Capital Management Corp in Vancouver.
"This is just nervousness based on where the market is."
    "I think the selling is a little bit overdone. It tends to
get overblown," he added. "Oil at 60 bucks (a barrel) just
doesn't make any sense."
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 ended 342.78 points lower, or down 2.41 percent, at
13,852.95. All of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the
    Among energy producers, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd
 lost 5.3 percent to C$33.84 and Crescent Point Energy
Corp slid 9.8 percent to C$22.49.
    Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, fell
1.8 percent, with Bank of Montreal losing 2.1 percent
to C$77.66 and Royal Bank of Canada off 1.6 percent to
    The gold-mining sector was down 2.5 percent. Goldcorp Inc
 lost 2.5 percent to $22.66.
    Yamana Gold Inc said it will place some of its
Brazilian assets,  deemed non-core, into a subsidiary dubbed
Brio Gold, and will explore a potential sale along with other
options for the unit in 2015. The stock gave back 2.4 percent to

 (Reporting by John Tilak, editing by G Crosse)