(Updates throughout with commentary, details, market reaction)
* TSX down 18.84 points, or 0.14 percent, to 13,472.25
* Eight of the TSX’s 10 main groups fall
TORONTO, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index fell modestly on Wednesday, following hefty losses in the previous session, but many investors shrugged off the latest disappointing economic data out of China and mostly kept to the sidelines.
At 11:22 a.m. EDT (1522 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index fell 18.84 points, or 0.14 percent, to 13,472.25, reversing gains from earlier in the session.
Of the index’s 10 main groups, eight were in negative territory. Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the TSX by 147 to 88, for a 1.67-to-1 ratio on the downside.
“You would hope for a bit better snap back, but there’s nothing on the growth front, so that’s the big vexing question right now: where’s the growth and when’s it going to come?” said John Stephenson, President & CEO at Stephenson & Company Capital Management, noting that volumes were soft as well.
“Until we see an indication that (global growth) is getting much worse, which would not be good for markets, or we see it getting much better, I think we’re essential range bound.”
Data showed China’s manufacturing sector in September saw the biggest contraction since the global financial crisis, intensifying some fears that a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy could spread.
Domestically, Canadian retail sales rose for the third month in a row in July, up 0.5 percent, fueled by new car and clothing sales. While the rise was in line with what was expected from economists polled by Reuters, sales were flat and below expectations when automotive figures were excluded. Volumes were also weaker than the headline, while figures from the previous month were revised lower.
Financials were among the biggest drags on the index. Toronto-Dominion Bank declined 0.9 percent to C$51.05 while Bank of Nova Scotia dipped 1.01 percent to C$57.54.
Transcanada Corp fell 0.8 to C$44.56, while Crescent Point Energy Co gave back 2.8 percent to trade at C$16.49. The overall energy group fell just over 0.6 percent.
Fertilizer producers Potash Corp was down 1.9 percent at C$28.78, while Agrium Inc fell 2.1 percent to 123.67. The materials sector, home to resource firms, slipped some 0.6 percent.
Stephenson said investors were also waiting for earnings season to begin, and that October to April is typically a better period, seasonally.
“There’s a listlessness out there, truthfully. There’s really no identifiable catalyst, positively or negatively out there on the horizon,” he said. (Reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by Chris Reese)
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