July 8, 2009 / 4:00 PM / 10 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX dragged lower by falling commodity prices

* TSX down 2.31 percent at 9,617.16

* Materials sector tumbles 3.6 percent

* Investors shrug off upbeat IMF economic report (Adds details and quotes)

By Nina Lex

TORONTO, July 8 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index fell to its lowest level in over a month on Wednesday as a slide in commodity prices dragged the resource-heavy composite down more than 2 percent.

The materials sector led the retreat with a drop of 3.6 percent, as the price of gold fell alongside a stronger U.S. dollar, which makes the precious metal more expensive for holders of other currencies.

Shares of Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) were down 3.6 percent at C$36.82 while Goldcorp (G.TO) fell 3.5 percent to C$38.19.

“Commodity prices will probably be the continued driving factor in the market for now,” said Rick Hutcheon, president and chief operating officer at RKH Investments.

At 11:30 a.m. (1530 GMT), the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 227.19 points, or 2.31 percent, at 9,617.16. Nine of its 10 main groups were lower.

The energy sector was down 2.7 percent as oil prices fell below $61 a barrel.

EnCana Corp (ECA.TO) was down 2.4 percent at C$51.77, while Petro-Canada PCA.TO dropped 1.5 percent to C$38.36.

Investors took little comfort from an International Monetary Fund report that said the global economy was showing signs of improving. But earlier in the session the report did receive some credit for helping the TSX briefly erase an early skid.

The IMF said on Wednesday the global economy was starting to pull out of its deepest recession since World War Two, but noted the recovery would be sluggish [ID:nN08376464]

“I don’t know if what the IMF said was particularly bullish from a global perspective. But it wasn’t so bad from a Canadian perspective,” said Hutcheon.

$1=$1.16 Canadian Reporting by Nina Lex; editing by Rob Wilson

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