* TSX down 68.99 points, or 0.5 percent, at 13,733.89
* Eight of the 10 main groups lower
* U.S. data weighs on sentiment
(Updates with details, comment)
By Solarina Ho
TORONTO, June 1 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index kicked off the new month in negative territory on Wednesday morning, as disappointing U.S. data pressured resource and financial stocks and led the Canadian market into a retreat.
Financial issues were down 0.71 percent, with four of the top five most influential decliners from that sector. Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) led with a 1.25 percent decline to C$55.92, followed by Toronto Dominion Bank (TD.TO), which was down 1.11 percent. Manulife Financial (MFC.TO) and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) were also down more than 1.5 percent.
Economic data from the United States dampened investor sentiment and spilled over north of the border. U.S. private-sector payroll growth slowed sharply in May, falling to its lowest in eight months, prompting some economists to lower forecasts for Friday’s U.S. government jobs report. [ID:nLDE7501Y8]
Meanwhile, the U.S. manufacturing sector fell more than expected in May, to its slowest pace since September 2009, according to an industry report. [ID:nOSL016366]
“It’s pretty ugly. Numbers out of the U.S. were disappointing. ... We seem to be bitten by the same bug,” said John Kinsey, a portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities Ltd.
“I guess it’s got people worried about a double dip. ... I think it’s really the numbers that got the markets really nervous.”
At 10:45, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 68.99 points, or 0.5 percent, at 13,733.89. Eight of the 10 main groups were lower.
BlackBerry maker Research In Motion RIM.TO was down 3.65 percent to C$39.84. News on Tuesday that mobile phone maker Nokia slashed its sales and profit outlook, and scrapped forecasts for 2011 due to tumbling prices and intense competition from Apple and Google has knocked the already-battered shares lower. [ID:nLDE74U1CO]
“The Nokia thing has affected RIM more than some of the others. Nokia was the bright shining star. ... RIM had been that until Apple came with their new products. The industry is just so super competitive,” said Kinsey, noting that earnings are coming up in two weeks.
“You’re hearing all kinds of rumors,” he said. “It’s just not a good situation right now. I think it really need to settle down.”
Energy stocks were down 1.07 percent, with Canadian Natural Resources off 1.52 percent at C$41.53. Oil prices fell roughly $1 as the disappointing U.S. data clouded the demand outlook. [O/R]