June 1, 2010 / 9:02 PM / 9 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX sags as growth fears hit energy issues

* TSX falls 191.02 points, or 1.6 percent, to 11,571.97

* Energy, financial issues lead index lower

* Gold stocks, telecoms gain (Adds details, quotes)

By Claire Sibonney

TORONTO, June 1 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index ended sharply lower in volatile trading on Tuesday, after sluggish global manufacturing data raised concerns about the pace of economic recovery, punishing oil prices and the TSX’s powerhouse energy sector.

Energy shares sank 3.3 percent, with Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO), the country’s biggest oil producer, shedding 1.9 percent to C$31.89. EnCana Corp (ECA.TO), Canada’s largest natural gas producer, fell 3.2 percent to C$32.18.

Data showed manufacturing growth slowed in the euro zone and China, but there was some relief in the United States, where there was scant evidence of an impending slump. [ID:nN01231825]

Still, oil fell nearly 2 percent to below $73 a barrel in choppy trade.

“There’s a great deal of nervousness about global growth,” said Elvis Picardo, analyst and strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver,

“You see that nervousness manifest itself in the volatility in crude oil prices, and because of the volatility in oil prices, you’re seeing energy stocks bounce around as well.”

Financial issues see-sawed on both sides of break-even throughout the day before settling 0.5 percent lower.

Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO), however, rose 2.6 percent to C$49.52 after reporting stellar quarterly results. [ID:nN28202192]

“Best results out of any of the Canadian banks. Blew the doors off even with a significant currency impact,” said Barry Schwartz, vice-president and portfolio manager at Baskin Financial Services.

Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), the country’s biggest lender, fell 1.7 percent to C$54.20, extending its decline after posting earnings last week that fell short of high market expectations.

“After the selloff in May, banks are now trading at quite a reasonable valuation. I don’t know what people are worried about,” Schwartz said.

In an anticipated move, the Bank of Canada raised its key interest rate to 0.5 percent from 0.25 percent on Tuesday, making Canada the first Group of Seven country to raise rates since the start of the recession. But the bank said the European debt crisis made its next rate move highly unpredictable. [ID:nN01103957]

“Obviously the Bank of Canada’s rate announcement was expected but the fact that the bank took a somewhat cautious stance on further rate hikes may have been a little bit of a surprise to the markets,” said Picardo.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended 191.02 points, or 1.62 percent, lower at 11,571.97. The index swung between positive and negative for much of the day.

“It’s a familiar pattern, something that we’ve seen in previous days as well, where you have a bout of nervousness in the last hour of trading and the market seem to give up the gains of the day,” said Picardo.

“In the case of the TSX it’s also possible that we had a 90-point gain yesterday, so today’s pullback, we’re merely giving part of that back.”

Nine of the 10 main groups ended lower. Gold stocks rallied 0.17 percent as the precious metal continued to attract safe-haven flows amid renewed economic uncertainty. Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO), the world’s largest producer, rose 1.7 percent to C$44.91.

Telecoms edged 0.01 percent higher with BCE Inc (BCE.TO), Canada’s largest communications company, adding 1.8 percent to C$31.26.

“These companies have yields of over 5 percent and when the markets turn a little choppy they tend to attract some money,” said Picardo.

$1=$1.05 Canadian Reporting by Claire Sibonney; editing by Rob Wilson

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