* TSX down 202.25 points, or 1.68 percent, at 11,828.61
* Energy sector down 3.1 pct as oil below $80 a barrel
* Materials pushed down by weak gold, base metal prices (Adds details, quote)
By Jennifer Kwan
TORONTO, May 5 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index tumbled to a nine-week low on Wednesday morning as fears that Greece’s debt crisis would spread to other euro zone countries rattled markets, driving investors to the safety of the U.S. dollar and hitting oil and other commodity prices hard.
The index’s slide was led by its hefty energy sector, down 3.1 percent, as the unfolding Greece crisis pushed the price of oil below $80 a barrel. [MKTS/GLOB] [.N]
In Athens, striking public sector workers challenged Greece’s bailout-for-austerity deal, while policymakers warned of the dangers of contagion in other high-debt euro zone nations. [ID:nLDE643167] [ID:nLDE6440NQ]
In the oil patch, Suncor Energy (SU.TO) dropped 4.4 percent to C$32.86, while Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) sank 2.3 percent to C$75.20.
Concern about the fiscal health of euro zone countries drove investors to the safety of the greenback, a move that put downward pressure on metals prices. [O/R] [GOL/] [MET/L] The index’s materials group fell 1.6 percent with Teck Resources TCKb.TO down by 2.6 percent at C$36.30.
“It’s continued pessimism and worry that more countries in the European Union are going to get their debt downgraded,” said Barry Schwartz, vice president and portfolio manager at Baskin Financial Services.
“This throws us for a loop. Expectations for a global recovery are now up in the air.”
At 10:01 a.m. (1401 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 202.25 points, or 1.68 percent, at 11,828.61. Earlier, it touched a low of 11,754.28, its weakest level since early March.
All of its 10 sectors were down.
Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO), Canada’s No. 2 pipeline company, reported a lower first-quarter profit on Wednesday compared with the previous year when it benefited from the sale of a Colombian pipeline system. Its shares fell 1.6 percent to C$48.03. [ID:nN05261883]
Shares of Torstar Corp (TSb.TO), which is bidding for the newspaper and online businesses of Canwest Global Communications CGS.V, fell 2.7 percent to C$10.95. It said on Wednesday it posted a first-quarter profit, helped by lower costs and improved results from its newspaper and digital segments. [ID:nN04113739]
($1=$1.03 Canadian) (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Peter Galloway)