* TSX down 155.94 points, or 1.15 pct at C$13,455.38
* Six of 10 main sectors end lower
* Oil down 9 pct, silver off 7 pct, gold falls 3 pct (Adds corporate earnings updates, analyst comments)
By Solarina Ho
TORONTO, May 5 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index closed lower for a fourth day on Thursday as resource issues took a heavy hit from a major selloff in the commodities market that thrashed high-flying oil and metal prices.
Energy issues slumped 2.68 percent while the materials group, home to mining firms, skidded 2.54 percent. The two groups, which make up roughly 50 percent of the TSX index, dominated the lead decliners.
Suncor Energy (SU.TO) was by far the biggest drag on the index, sliding 5.26 percent to C$39.60. Goldcorp (G.TO) fell 3.36 percent to C$47.13, while Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) gave back 2.6 percent to C$41.24.
Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) was down 1.58 percent at C$45.33 while Teck Resources TCKb.TO retreated 3.71 percent to C$47.78. Silver Wheaton SLW.TO shares shed 4.57 percent to C$34.02. [ID:nN0599830]
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 155.94 points, or 1.15 percent at C$13,455.38. Six of the index’s 10 main groups were lower.
The index has fallen roughly 3.5 percent since Friday’s close and hit its lowest level in seven weeks.
The resource-heavy index took a heavy hit from oil prices, which settled down 9 percent in a record retreat that drove U.S. crude back under $100 a barrel.
Precious metal prices also took a severe hit, with silver plunging to its biggest one-day loss since 1980 and gold falling more than 3 percent. Copper prices also sank more than 3 percent to their lowest level since December.
Weak economic data from Europe and the United States fed ongoing fears about global growth and inflation risks, which sent commodity investors stampeding for the exits. [O/R] [GOL/] [MET/L]
“Commodities are clearly coming in. There’s been a lot of speculation in that area ... At some point, it’s going to burn itself out. The question is when,” said Irwin Michael, portfolio manager at ABC Funds.
Michael noted that while resource stocks were falling, they were not plunging nearly as much as the actual commodities.
“The bottom line? People are nervous ... Individual stocks are down, but they’re not down as much as the markets would indicate,” he said.
“We believe the economy and the stock market will saw-tooth its way up to the balance of the year. What you’re seeing now is one of those negative teeth on the down side. It’s to be expected. The market is volatile and will remain volatile well into the end of the year.”
Manulife Financial Corp (MFC.TO) was down 1.19 percent at C$16.62 while Great-West Lifeco (GWO.TO) was down 1.52 percent to C$26.61. Canada’s two top insurers posted lower quarterly profits on Thursday on claims and charges related to the Japanese earthquake. The overall financial group slipped 0.28 percent. [ID:nN05267082] [ID:nN05289155]
Air Canada ACa.TO was one of the brighter spots on the index, rising 3.98 percent to C$2.35 after reporting a narrower quarterly operating loss as higher passenger revenue helped offset rising fuel costs. [ID:nL3E7G51VS]
Telus Corp (T.TO), which reported profits that beat expectations thanks to soaring smartphone demand, also advanced, climbing 3.58 percent to C$51.77. [ID:nN0524973]
($1=$0.97 Canadian) (Editing by Rob Wilson)